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' ' '^"W^t^^^^^^^^^^^r^^^^^^m^mm^^mmmm^m^mimr^tm^^ 


B E r H IV S*s 




O F 






Minister op Hutton, Bbrwickshire* 




^. . 





, ' 








IN every age, Philofophy and 
the Mufes have been the 4e* 
light of great and eminent jpaen. 
They have ferved to foothe th« 
anxieties naturally attendant oci 
high Aation, and to relieve the 
fpitits during the intervals of 
buiinefs. This encourages me to 

a prefcnt 

Tke Bbder is to ]placc this Quarter Sheet immediately after the Title Pa . 





prefejit to yomr patronage Boe- 
THius's eloquent Treatife of The 
Consolation OF Philosophy; a 
Work which has been trandatcd 
into moft 61 the languages of 
Europe^ and into the Saxon and 
our own by two of our moft 
illuftrious Princes, Alfred and 
Elizabeth. There is fomething 
congenial in great and noble 
njinds, and what appeared inte- 
refting to them, cannot be indif- 
rcrent to you. Length of time, 
and the mutability of language, 
have deprived us of the fruits of 
their leifure. The prefent verfion 
of this beautiful and philofophi- 
cal Dialogue has coft me much 
pains and labour ; and, indeed, I 
{hould never have prefumed, un- 
der your protection and patron- 
age, to offer ittothePublick, had 
I not endeavoured to make it as 
jpcrfed as I jpoffibly could. 

V • Confcious 







G)nrcious of the nature of jfour 
talents, you early quitted the 
humble purfuits of literature, to 
difplay the extent of your powers 
on the great theatre of bufinefs 
and affairs; and envy muft allow, 
you have diftinguiflied yourfelf in 
To confpicuous a manner in our 
national cbncerns, and fupported 
your manly and generous princi- 
ples of liberty and government 
with fuch force of argument and 
genuine eloquence, as has rendered 
you the boafl and glory of our 
country. It is therefore with pe- 
culiar fatisfadion that I embrace 
the opportunity afforded me of 
uniting in the jgeneral voice, and 
exprefling my efleem and admira- 
tion .of your great, talents, which 
you employ with fo much, zeal, 
advantage, and fqccefs in the 
publick caufe. Your generous 
exertions to fcrve ?>ur country 
cannot entirely engrofs fo adive 
4 ^nd 



find capacious a mind; and though 
liigher views may have inter- 
rupted the ftudies of your early 
years, yet you ftill look with 
a lover's eye on Letters and the 

That you may long continue to 
Unite the favour of yo,ur Sovereign 
with the confidence of every real 
^triot/ is the fincere wifh of, 

With the grcatcft efteem and rcfpeft. 
Your moft obcdicqt, 

and mofl: humble Servant^ 


loNDON, y«»r, 1785. 





L I F E 

o r 

B O E T H I U S. 

NICIUS Manlius Severinus Boe- 
thius was defcended from an an- 
cient and noble family *. Many of hia 
anceftors were fenators and confuls of 
Rome. He was bom at Rome, in thd 
455th year of the Chriftian era, 46 years 
after the taking of that city by Alarick I* 
k^lg of the Goths ^ Boethius Severinus^ 
his father, was Prefeft of the palace to 
Valentinian III j and, by the command 

1^ Some of the writers of his life derive his pedi« 
gree from the celebrated Manlius T^rquatus. 

A3 of 



of that emperor, was put to death in the 
fame year which gave birth io his illuf- 
trious fon. Though deprived of the care 
of art excellent parent, the young Boe- 
thius had the happinefs of falling under 
the tuition of worthy relations, who gave 
him a good education, and infpired him 
> with an early tafte for, Philofophy, and 
the Belles Lettrcs. They fent him to 
Athens, where thefe ftudies ftill flourifhed. 
He refided eighteen years in that cele- 
brated feminary, wh?re, animated by a 
noble emulation, he diftinguifhed himfelf 
among his fellow-ftudents, ,and. made a 
furprizing progrefs in every branch of 
literature. But Philofophy and Mathe- 
piaticks were his darling ftudies; Plato, 
Ariftotle, EucUdj and, Ptoiomy, his fa- 
vourite authors.. He ftudied their writ- 
ings with the utmoft attention, and be- 
came mafter of all the treafures of fci- 
fence contained in therii. ' 

^ la 

J 1 





In this manner did Boethius employ 

his youth. His progrcfs in virtue, in the 

mean time, kept pace with his advance- 

ment in knowledge : for he was no lefs 

remarkable for probity and humanity, 
than for his fine genius and extenlive 

erudition. Upon his return to Rome, 

he foon attracted the publick attcntion.^ 

He was confidered as a perfon bom to 

promote the happinefs of fociety^ The 

moft diftinguifhed men in the city fought 
• • * , . - 

his friendftiip, perceiving that his merit 
would foon advance him to the firft em- 
ploy ment s of* the ftate. His alliance was 
wiflied for by perfons the moft refpedlia- 
ble. But Elpis, defcended from one of 
the moft confiderable families of Meffi- 
na, was the lady on whom Boethius fixed 
his choice. His choice was fortunate; 
for in Elpis there was united all the ac- 
complilhments of the head and heart. 
She had a fine tafte in literature, par- 

A 4 ticularly 

A. D. 



ticularly m poetry *, an4 was a fliming 
example^ of every virtue ; fo that fhe muft 
have been a delightful companion to this 
eminent philpfbpher; and ftatefman. She 
bore him two fpns, Patdtius and Hy-^ 

To the h^ppinefs of poffefling a lady of 
fuch uncommon merit, Boethius foon had 
the fatisfaftion of obtairiing the higheft 
honour his country could beftbw. He 
was made .Conful in the year 487, at the 
age of 32, Odoacer, king of the Herul?, 
reigned at that time in Italy, who, after 
having put to death Oreftes^ and depofed 
his fon Auguftulus, the laft .emperor of 
the Weft, affumed the title of king of that 
country* Two years after Boethius's ad- 
vancement to the dignity of Conful,Th^o- 



♦ There are two hymns, which are ftill Aing in 
the publick worfhip, that are faid to be of ber eom- 
pofition. They begin, Juna luxy and Felix per 

. dorick. 




dorick/ long of the Goths* '^xv9idfi4 
Jtaly^ and, having conquered Od^oaxjey 
and put him to deathi he in a fii^rt tim^ 
jjiade himfelf mailer of that country, an4 
fixed the feat of hi$ government at Ra* 
venna, as Odoacer and feveral of the later 
wtftejfn emperors had done before hinu 
The Romans and the inhabitants of Italy 
were pleafed with the goxernment lof 
Theodorick, becaufe he wifely; ruled them 
by the fame law^, the fame pdity, and 
the fame magiftrat^ they were accuftom^ 
cd to, under the emperors. In the eighth A. D. 
year of this Prince's reign, Boethius had 
th^ fingular felicity of beholding his two 
fons, Patritius and Hypatius, raifed tq 
the confular dignity. During their con- 
tinuance in office, Theodorick came to 

Rome, where he had been long expefked, 
and was received by the fenate and peo- 
ple with the greateft demonftrations of 
joy, Boethius made him an eloquent 





pancgyrick in thefenate; which the king 
anfwered in the mbft obliging terms, de-* 
daring that he fhould ever have the great- 
eft refpe£l for that auguft aflembly, and 
would never encroach upon any of their 

privileges. From the Senate-houfe Theo* 
dorickrepaired to the. Circus, attended by 
Boethius, his conful-fons, and the wlfek 
body of the fenate, where he made a very 
ingratiating fpeech to the people, and 
where both he and Boethius difpenfed to 
them largefTes equal to their moft enlarg- 
ed expeflations. This remarkable day 
concluded with a fplendid- feaft, which 
the king gave to the fenators. St. Ful- 
gentius, bishop of Rufpina, in Africa,, who 
had fled to Rome from the cruelty of 
Thrafimond, king of the Vandals in that 

country, was fo much ftruck wjith the 


pomp and magnificence Exhibited on thia 

occafion, that he exclaimed, If terreftrial 

Rpme is fo dazzling, what|nuft the ceJef-* 

2 tial 



tial Jerufalem, be, which God hath pro- 
mifed to hrs eleft ! \ 

Boethius was advanced a fecond time to a. D. 
the dignity of Conful, in the eighteenth ^^^* 
year of the reign of king Theodorick, 
Power and honour could not have been 
conferred upon a perfon more worthy 
of them : for he was both an excellent 
magiftrate and ftatefman, as he faithfully 
and affiduoufly executed the duties of his^ 
office ; and employed, upon every occafion, 

the great influence he had at court, in 

* ' • '' "' ■* 

protecting the innocent, relieving the 

needy, and in procuring the redrefs of 
fuch grievances as gave jufl caufe of com- 
plaint. The care of publick affairs did not 
however engrofs his whole attention. This, 
year, as he informs us himfelf *, he wrote 
^ his Commentary upon the Predicaments, 

or the Ten Categories of Ariflrotle. In 

♦ This he tells us in the beginning of the fecond 

Book of this Conjmentary. 





imitation of Cato, Cicero, and BrutuSi 
he devoted the whole- oi his time to the 
fervice of the commonwealth^ and to the 
cultivation ofthefciences. He puWifhbd 
a variety of w^ritings, ift which he treated 
upon almoft every branch of literature* 
Ifhali ni^ntion the principal of them. 
Befides the Commentary upon Ariftotle'd 
Categories, noticed above, Boethius wrote 
an Explanation of that Philofopher's 
topicks, in eight Books; another, of his 
Sophifms, in two Books ^ and Commen- 
taries upon many other parts of his writ-* 
ings. He tranflated the whole of Plato's 
works : He wrote a Commentary, in fix 
Books, upon Cicero's topicks : He com- 
mented alfo upon Porphyry's writings : 
! He publifhed a Djifcotjrfe oli Rhetorick in 
one Book ; a Treatife on Arithmetrck in 
two Books * I and another, in five Books, 

* Caffiodorus relates, that Boethius . tranflated 
Kicomachus's celebrated Treatife upon Arithme- 
tick« It is now loft. 




upon Mufickf :. He S^rrote three Books 
upon Geometry, the laft of which is loft: 
He tranflated Euclid i and wrote a Treatife 
upon the Quadrature of the Circle; neither 
of which perfbrmancca are now remain- 
ing: He publifhed alfo tranflations of 
Ptplomy of Alexandria's works ; and of the 
writings of the celebrated Archimedes J i 
and, to conclude this imperfea lift of Jiis 
learned labours, he publifhed feveral 
Treatifes upon Theological andMetaphy- 
fical fubjefts, which kre ftill preferved. 

The ^cutenefs of underftanding and. 
profound erudition difplayed in fuch a 
diverfity of wprks, upon all fub|eas, ac- 
quired Boethius a gre^t ppntation, not 

t Befides the Treatife which he himfejf compofed 
upon Mufick, he tranflated Pythagoras's Treatife up, 
on that fine art : which Is unhappily loft. 

t The Romans at thi& time wt3iB almoft entirely 
unacquainted with the Grecian literature. Boethius, 
by his tranflations and learned commentaries, revived 

the knowledge of it amoDgft them, 






only among his countrymen, but witK 
foreigners. Gondebald king of the Bur* 
gundians, who had married a daughter of 
Theodorick, came to Ravenna, on a vifit 
to his father-in-law, and thence went to 
Rome ; not only with a view to fee the 
beauties of that famous city, but that he 
might have the pleafure of converfing with 
our illuftrious Philofopher^ Boethius, 
fenfible of th6 great honour conferred up- 
on him by this Prince, did every thing ill 
his power to amufe and entertain him. 
He ftiowed him feveral curipus mechanical 
works of his own invention, which Gpn- 
debald greatly admired ; but what chiefly 
ftruck him, wedre two watches ox time- 
keepers |. one of which pointed out the 
fun's diurnal and annual motion in the 


ecliptick, upon a moveable fphere ; and 

the other indicated the hours of the day ^, 


♦ This contrivance lyas called a Clepfydra. It 
' was iavented in Greece, and was in.ufe both among 

. the 



LIFE OF BOETintrS. jnr 


by the expedient of water dropping out 
of one veffel into another* So fond was 
Gondebald of thdfe pieces of niechanifm, 
that upon his return to his own country,- 
he difpatched ambafladors to Theodoriek, 
praying that he would procure for him the 
two wonderful time-keepers he hadfeen^ 
at Rome. Upon this occafion, Theo-a* 


dorick wrote to Boethius; and his letter, 
whickis very honourable for our author, 
is Caffiodorus. lihallgive 
fome extrafts from it. *' The lord of the 
Burgundians/' he informs him, *^ urges 
^s with much importunity, by his am-** 


the Greeks and Romans. The water dropped from' 
z fmall hole in the upper yeiTel, and fell into the- 
lower. The rifmg of the water in the lower ve^el , 
pointed out the hours, probably by a fcale of hours 
and parts of an hour fixed to the fide of it. It is 
likely Boethius made fome improvement upon this 
invention, by which he rendered it more accurate ' 
and ufeful* 

** baflkdorst 



/ / 


** baf&dica's^ that we would he pleaied t6 
^^ fold him the two wonderful time-keep- 
, *^ ers wlflch you fhowed him at Rome, 
*f aftd to-fefid along^ with them the perfoiis^ 
*5 who by your diredion conftru^ed theni. 
«* Such contrivances, tho* common with 
*' us,^ he adds, *^ appear almoft miracu*- 
*^ lofls' ta them; and hence arifes their 
'f cameft defire of having fbme of than 
*f in tii«ir poflfeffion/' He tells him after-^ 
wards, tJ^at the Senators of Rome were 
indebted ti) him for the whole of thfeir 
knowledge in the learning of the Greeks : 
*^ for in your admifable tranfltftioftS,*' 
fays he, " all Jtaly now reads with plea- 
•* fure> Py Aagoras the mufician, Ptobtoy 
** the aftronomer, and Nicomachus the 
*^ arithmetician. By means of* /i&^, the 
** rich treafures contained in the geometry 
" of Euclid, the tKeology of Plato, and 
*' the lo^k of Ariftotle, are laid open to ] 
5* us all. You have reftored the celebrated 
10 *♦ Archimedes 


*^ Archimedes to Sicily, his country. In 

** fhort, you have importjed into Italy 

*' all the fcicnces and all the arts pro* 

/* duced in the fertile foil of Greece, and 

/* have made them your own : ' for all 

// your tranflations are executed with fuch 

** perfpicuity and elegance, that I am 

** perfuaded a matter in both languages 

" would prefer them to the originals." 

In the conclufion of his letter, Theo- 

dorick defires Boethius to fend him 

the above-mentioned time-keepers, to 

be tranfmitted to Gondobaldj, that the 

-fame of his ipgenuity might be made 

ki^pwn to a coiintry where he could ijot 

go in perfon. *^ Teach foreign nations,*' 

adds he, *^ that we have nobles who arc 

** not inferior in genius to the celebrated 

:*^ authors whofe fame is fpread every 

** where. When fuch curious inventions 

^\ were mentioned to thefe diftarit people, 

*• they looked upon them as mere dreams 

c : b "and 


f^ and chimeras. But they will be con* 
** vinced of their error, when they ffee 
** thefe Wonders realized ; and they will 
•' not dare equal themfelves to us, when 
** they know that we have amongft us phi- 
*• lofophers, capable of inventing and exe- 
*• cuting fuch ingenious performances," 

By this letter it appears in what high 
efteem Boethius was held by Theodorick, 
who was a prince of great capacity, and 
governed hitherto with much prudence, 
equity, and moderation. But thefe emi- 
nent virtues he afterwards /ullied by 
flagrant a£ts of cruelty and injuftice.-~ 
During the courfe of thefe tranfa6li<ins, 
Boethius laft his beloved wife Elpis, the 
faithful partner of his domeftick cares, 
his pleafures, and his ftudies ^. To com- 

# ■ 

♦ She was buried in Rome, in the Portico of St* 
Peter, where her epitaph ftill remains. I ihall fub- 
join a part of it : 




fort him£yf under this affliction (for the 
wife man coneiorts himfelf under every 
event) he married a fccond time; and had 
lie micommon felicity of being again 
equity happy in hi» choice^ The lady 
whom he chofe fear Ins confort was Ruf-^ 
tidana^ the daughter of Symmachus, one 
of the moft rcfpe^table men in Rome for 
birth, learning, and probity. This lady 
bore him two fons, Symmachus and Boe- 
thius 1 who, as we are informed in the 
fecood book of the Confolation, were 
^ con^pic^Qous in thcir^ youth for very 
eminent talents. 

Boethius was a third time elefted Con- A- D; 


jiul, along with Symmachus, his father* 

Elpls di£ka ftti, Sjeulee regionis alumna, ' 

Quam procul a patria conjugis egit^fitpor^ 
Quo fine moefta dies, nox anxia, flebilis iiora. 

Portictbus facris jam nunc peregrina quiefco, 
Ju%is Mtttx^ t«ftificata^thronum« 

b 2 in-law^ 


in-law, in the 30th year of Thcodbrick's 
reign* Neither ambition nor intereft 
prompted him, in the decline of life, to 
undertake that high office : he had nM) 
other view but to promote the good of ^ 
the State, and to pfoteft thofe worthy 
citizens whofe fufFrages had advanced 
him to that dignity. This was his laft 
Confulfhip : during the courfe of it Iw 
had the misfortune to fall under the dif- 
pkafure of king Theodorick.— Boethius 
had been Tiitherto remarkably fortunate : 
ije had lived long in health, affluence, 
and fplendor; had attained to every ho- 
nour he could expeO: ; and hadprdferyed 
invariably the efteem and afFeftion af.hJs 
fellow-citizens. During the courfe of al- 
moft forty years, for capacity and probity, 
he Was undoubtedly the moft diftinguifhed 
charafter in Rome. His uncommon 
mefit, however, and his great influence, 
did not prevent his ruinj they were pro- 

''■< bably 

« I I 


bably the caufcs of it.— King Theodorick 
was an Arian ; and Boethius, who was a 
Catholick, unluckily publifljed about this 
time a Book upon the Unity of the 
Trinity, in oppdition to the three famous 
fe<fts of Ariahs, Neftorians, and Euty- 
chians* This trqatife was univerfally 
jead, and creatjed our author a great many 
enemies at court ; who infinuated to the 
prince, that Boethius wanted not only to 
deftroy Arianifm, but to efFeftuate a 
change of government, and deliver Italy 
from the dominion of the Goths ; and that, / 
from his great credit and influence, he 
was the mod likely perfon to bring about 
fuch a revolution.--^ Whilfl: his enemies 
were thus bulled at - Ravenna, they em- 
ployed emiffaries to fow the feeds of dif- 
content at Rome, and to excite fadlious 
people openly to oppofe him in the exer- 
ci& of his (Office as Conful. — Boethius, in 

b 3 th? 

X ) 


the mean while, wanting no other reward 
than a fenfe of his integrity, laboured 

♦ both by his eloquence and his authority 
to defeat their wicked attempts ; and per- 
fitted refolutely in his endeavours to pro- 
mote the publick welfare, by fupporting 
the oppreffed, and bringing offenders to 
juftice. But his integrity and fteadinefs 

tended only to.haften his fall. King 
Theodorick, corrupted probably by a long 

fcries of good fortune, began now to take 
off the mafk. This prince, tho' an Arian, 
had hitherto preferved fentiments of mo- 
deration and equity with regard to the 
Catholicks : but fearing, perhaps, that 
they had a view of overturning his go- 
vernment, he began . now to treat them 
with feverity. 

Boethius was one of the firft that fdl a 
viflim to his rigour. He had continued 

long in favour with his prince,- and was 



/ J 


mott belovdd by him than any other per-^ 
fdn: but neither the remembrance of 
farmer aiFe£li<^, rior the abfolute cer* 
tainty the king had of his innocence, pre- 
tinted hita from profecuting our Philofo- 
phd*, upon the eviderice 6f three aban- 
doned profligates, infamous for. all man- 
ner of crimes. The offences laid to hi$ 
charge, as we are informed in the firft 
book of the Confolation of Philofophy^ 
were, '* That he wifhed to preferve the 
*^ Senate and its authority : that he hin- 
** dered an informer from producing 
*^ proofs, which would have convi<^d 
** that aflembly of treafon : and that he 
*' formed a Icheme for the reftoration of 
*^ the Roman liberty." In proof of the 
laft article, the above-mentioned profli- 
gates produced letters forged by them- 
fefves, which they falfely averred were 
written by Boethkis. For thefe fuppofed 
* b 4 crimes. 





crimes, as we learn from the fame autho* 
rity, he was, unheard and undefended, 
, at the diftance of five hundred miks, pro- 
A. D. fcribed and condemned to death.~Theo- 
dorick, confcious that his feverity would 
be univerfally blamed, did not at this time 
carry his fentence fully into execution; 
but contented himfelf with confifcating 
Boethius's effects, with banifliiijg him to 
Pavia, and confining him to prifon. . 

Soon after this, Juftin, the Catholick 
Emperor of the Eaft, finding himfelf 
thoroughly eftabliflied upon the throne, 
publifhed an edid againftthe Arians, de- 

Av t>. priving them of all their churches . — Theo- 
524. '• - . 

dorick was highly offended at this edi6t. 

He obliged , Pope John I. together with 
four of the principal Senators of Rome 
(one of whom was Symmachus, father- 
in-law to Boethius) to go on an embaffy to 
Conftantinpple 5 and commanded them to 


y '>' 



threaten that he would abolifh the Catho- 
lick religion throughout Italy, if the Em- 
peror did not immediately revoke his edift 
againfk the Arians.— John was received at 
CcHiftantinople with extraordinary pomp, ^ 
and treated with profoun4 refpeft. He 
tried to compromife matters betwixt the 
two princes : but fb far was he from in- 
ducing the Emperor to revoke his edi£t, 
that, ifk compliance with the tenor of it, 
lie reconciled many of the Arian churches 
tp the Catholick Faithl — Theodorick was 
fo incenfed at bis conduft, and of his 
aflbciates in this affair, that upon their 
s return he threw them all into prifon at 
Ravenna. Boethius, though entirely inno- 
cent of what was done at Conftantinople, 
was at the fame time ordered into ftri6ler 
confinement at Pavia; the king having 
probably come to, the refolution of pro- 
ceeding to icxtremities againft him. 


■* \ 

arxitt LIFE OF bobthiits; 

Tbotigh confined in a dolefbi prifoil, 
> snd de&rted t>y all tb« wdrkt— thoagU 
deprived of hi» library, iBd Aript of ^11 hit 
ftoficfllons — our illaftria«s Phildfophet 
prderved fo much vi^ur and compofur^ 
of mini!, that be wrote, in five booki, YAb 
«icelient treatife of the Confolatioa of 
Pfulofophy, To this tteatife our suthcte 
is iftore indebted for his fame> than tii 
all his other learned perfofmances. . Fe^ 
books te^e bren more popular : it has gone 
tbrough a miilf itude of editions ; has been 
commentted upon by maniy eminent men i 
has been tranflated into a gfeat variety of 
languages j and has been nniverfeUy ac* 
knowledged a work replete with erudition 
and inftruiftior^, and executed with much 
delicacy and good tafte. When we con- 
fi^r the (^refied fituation of our author 
when he wrote it, we are filled with 
wonder that he was ca|«bk of cotn- 


.^ / 


pofing a performance of fo much real 
genius and m^rit. 

Several of the commentators upott 
Boethius fuppofe that he was iflterrupte^i 
by death, in the execution of this work* 
Their con|e(3:ure is not improbable; as 
our author, though a zealous Catholick, 
4akes no notice of the comforts arifing 
from the Chriftian religion to perfons ia 
calamitous circumftances ; which are far 
more certain and fatisfa^tory than thofe 
derived from Philofo^hy, They are there- 
fore of opinion, that, if he Had lived, he 
would have added a fixth book to his 
celebrated treatife ; and would have 
fhewn how much fuperior the topicks 
of confolation, delivered to us in the New 
Teftament, are to all others* If this was 
his defign, it is much to Be regretted that 
he was not fuffered to liVe till he had ac- 
compliihed it. 




But the fatal moment was now faft ap- 
proaching, which put a period to the 
^^^H* miferies of Boethius. As a prelude to this. 
Pope John was famifhed tp death in 
prifon; and foon afterwards Theodorick 
ordered Symmachus, end the three othei: 
Senators that were fent to Conftantinople 
on the embafly before-mentioned, to be 
beheaded. To compleat his cruelty, he 
commanded the famepunilhment to be in- 
flifted on Boethius, in his prifon at Pavia> 
on the 23d of 06lober 526, in the 71ft 
year of his age.— His body was interred 
by the inhabitants of Pavia, in the church 
of St. Auguftine, near to the fteps of the 
chancel; where his monument * is ftiU 


♦ This monument was ertSted to his memory by 
the emperor Otho III. A. D. 996, who ordered Boe- 
thius's bones to be taken up, and placed in a fhriae 
of marble upon the top of it. 

I to 


to be feen^ infcribed with the following 
epitaph, which is not written with much 


Meonise et L^tise linguas clariOimus^ et qui . 
Conful eram> hie perii^ miflus in exilium: 


Sed quern mors rapuit, probitas eVexit ad aurasi 
£t nunc fama viget maxima, vivit opus. 


I have thus paraphrafed it : 

Thrice honoured with the Confurs ofHce high, 
And deeply fkyi*d in Greek and Latian lore ; 

In exile here jjijr violence muft I die, ^ 

And nevfer fee my friends and country more ? 

But ^ Death diflblvcs nought but my earthly 
frame ; 

My foul released ihall gain its native feat ; 
My learned works fliall ever fpread my fame. 

And Ronie with pride my praifes fliall repeat. 




King Thtedorick, as we arc informed 
by Procopius, regretted thefe a£ls of vio- 
lence, and did not long furvive them. 
Some months afterwards, when the head 
of a great fifh was ferved up to him at 
fupper, he imagined he beheld the head 
of Symnpiachus fiercely threatening him. 
Terrified with this apparition, he rofe 
from table, and went to bed in an agony ; 
and after bitterly deploring to his phyfi- 
chxi his cruchy in refpe6t *o Symmachus 
and Boethius, he became delirious, and 
in a few days expired. — Ama)afuntha, the 
daughter of Theodorick, who^nponthe 
deceafe pf her father governed Ita^ with 
lingular prudence and juftice, as tu^refs 
to her fon Athal.arigk, lamented the^i^e 
of this eminer\t man, and cxpreffed th 
utmoft refpeft for his memory. To nwke 
all the atonement in her power for the 

2 -^ injuries 






injuries her father had done him. ihe 
caufed his ftatues, which had been over- 
thrown at Romp during his perfecution^ 
to be again erected, and all his pofTeflions 
to be reftored to his heirs. 

B O ETH lUS's 

< H«< * J 



B E r H I U S'S 



B O O K I. 

Boethius deplores bis misfortunes in apathetic ehgy^ 

Philofophy appears to him. She com^ 

fnands the mujes to leave him.' Exprejfes her 

concern for him. Adduces examples of .wife 

men who had Jiruggled with equal difficulties. — 

Boetbius relates to Philofophy his merit^^ ■ He 

notifies ^to her bis accufation and banifhment.^ 
"Declares the fanSlity and integrity of bis life. -^^ 


Laments the lojs of his dignities and reputation. 

Philofophy confoles him.' She enquires 

particularly into the troubles of his mind, and tbt 
c^ujes of them. 

IN flower of youth, with love of learning bleft, Bioettiitif 

My verfe was wont in cheerful ftrains to flow^ hw^^. 

But now, by Fortune's cruel rage oppreft, I^^'^th^"* 

I mourn in nunabers fuited to my woe* s^ > «i«gyt 


The facred Nine, companions of my grief. 
Their ibften'd features wet with many a tear^ 

Try all their pleafing art to give relief. 
And whifper vcrfe mellifluous in my ear. 

They, faithful friends, ftill trace my woful ways, 

Regardlefs of the haughty tyrant's rage. 
Whilom, the glory of my youthful days. 

Now, the chief folace of my drooping age. 

Silver*d myliairs, arid furrowed deep nrty brow, 
UnbracM each nerve, tho' fcarce beyond my 
prime, ^ , 

With rapid hafte borne on the wings of wo. 
Old Age advances, not on wings, of rime. 

Happy the man, with health and affluence bleft. 
Into whofe halcyon days intrudes not death ; 

From ceafclcfs wo, ftill happier who finds reft, 
AMyields tofate,long- wiih'd, his willirig breath. 


Death, kind deliverer from all grief and pain, 

Wby ftays thy hand my weeping eyes to clofe ? * 
Thy aid, ah cruel ! I implore in vain; 
, Deaf to my cries, thou wilt not give repofe. 

With gladd'ning beams, while treacherous fortune 
■ ' - &^nCp 
Pifeafe had almoft fnatch'd my blifs away. 
With every joy, fincc now the wanton's flown, 
' Why dpcs^ftow tinac ftill lengthen out my day? 



r- ^ - " f 



Why did you boaft of my exalted ftate ? 

Miftaken friends, were ye not nriuch to blarhc ? 
Learn this great* tru^b, from my difaftrous faje, 

j4ll human blifs is but an empty name. 

.Whilft I vented my grief in thefe melancholy Phtiofophy 
drains, and, with tears dreaming from my eyes, ^^^*** 
wai committing them to paper, I was druck with 
the appearance of a woman, whofe countenance 
was altogether augud and venerable. Her eyes 
'fparkled with fire, and her look was far more 
piercing than that of any mortal. Her complexion 
was comely and healthful, ai^d ftie fccmcd to pof- 
fcfs all the vigour of youth ; neverthelefs her ap- 
pearance was fuch as denoted her to have lived 
many years, and that her evidence began long 
before the prefent agfc. The height of her da- 
ture could not be determined, as die varied it at 
^ pleafurc j now, die feemed to contraft herfelf to 
the ordinary (ize of men; anon, die appeared to 
reach the flcies with her head j nay, die would at 
times elevate herfelf dill higher, and penetrate fo 
far into the heavens, as to furmountthe reach df 
the mod acute and difcerning eye. The duflf of 
which her robe was compofed was indidbluble; 
It was of the fined thread, woven with wonder- 
ful art, and was the. work of her own hands, as 
I learned from her afterwards. But as fmoke and 
dud obfcures ancient pidures, fonegleft and the 
rud of antiquity had rendered the beauty of this 

B a duff 

the Mufcf 
to leave 
^ Boethius*' 


ftufF fcareely to be difcerned* On the lower 
part of her garment was embroidered in a* large 
and ftrong character the letter P, on the upper G; 
the former denoting Philofophy ; the latter, God; 
and betwixt thefe two letters a flight of flairs was 
delineated, fignifying that the afcent to Gpd was 
by philofophy *. 

This admirable garment, however, had been 
rent by the fury of fome violent men f, who had 
torn feveral fhreds out of it, and carried them 
off, Thus did fhe appear j and to conclude, flic 
held fome writing;s in her right hand, and a fcep- 
ter In her left. 

Beholding the Mufes, the infpirers of fong, 
ftandlng round my bed,' and lending words to 
my grief, flie was difpleafed ; and looking upon 
them with a ftcrn and threatening afpeft. Who 

■ • In the original, the letter marked on the lower part of tke gar- 
ment is the Greek letter n ; on the upper part of it, is the Greek 
letter <9.' The interpretation I have given of the meaning of thefc 
letters being marked on the robe of Philofophy 5 that the f^mer letter 
figiiifies Philofophy, and the latter God, is the moft natural, and 
probably the true meaning. Moft of the commentators, however, 
underftand by n the practice of philofophy, and by e the theory of 
it. Theory, fay they, is placed in the upper part of the garment, 
becaufe cpntempjative philofophy is more noble than pra6^ical ; and a 
flight of ftairs, they add, is placed betwixt the letters, denoting^ that 
ftudents of wifdom ought to afcend to the one, and defcend to the other; 
becaufe there can be no exercife of virtue without a contemplation of 
truth, ndr can. there be ^ny ufcfjul contemplation ;oftrutii without th^ 
pfa6^ice of virttie, 

•f- Thofo'wHo by prejudice. tnd precipitancy wreft and abufe phil(K 
£pf)vft and do neidi^r contethplatcf trMtb> nor exercife virtue . . 




gives permiflion, fays (he, to thefe foul-ener- 
vating daughters of the theatre, to approach 
this difconfolate perfon? So far are they froni 
remedying his woes by any art of theirs, that they 
nourifli them by their foft and enfeebling poifons. 
It is they who teach their votaries to choke 
and deftroy, by the pernicious brambles of the 
paflions, the moft abundant and ufeful crops of 
reafon. They may indeed footh and indulge 
the mind in its grief; but they cannot reftore it 
to comfort. If by your deceitful carefles; added 
fhe, you had feduced one of the profane, as you 
are daily wont to do, fmall would have been my 
concern : I Should not thereby have been injured; 
for it is only in the fons of wifdom I am intereftcd. 
But whom do you attack ? One who has been train- 
ed up from his infancy in the principles of Zeno * 

B 3 and 

♦ The 2^eno here mentioned was the inventor of logick. He was 
of Elea, a city of Lucania, and fiourlihed long before the celebrated 
founder of the Stoicks, of the fame name. Boethius might well be 
faid to be trained up in the principles of Zeno, as he was the moft 
profound and expert logician in his time. 

The academy whence the academicks were named, was a celebrated 
gymnazlum or place of exercife, in the fuburbs of Athens, where, the 
profefTof s of that fchool ufed to hold their leflures and public di(puta- 
tions. The founder of it was Plato the difciple of Socrates. Plato^t 
nephew Speufippus, who was left the heir of his fchool, continued his 
le^lures, as his fncceiTors alfo did in the academy, and preferved the 
kiame of academicks ; whilft Ariftotle, the moft eminent of Plato's 
fcholars, retired to another gymnazium called the Lyceum 5 where, 
from a cuftom which he and his followers obferved, of teaching and 
difputing as they walked, they obtained the name of Peripateticks, 



and the Academy. — Be gone ! ye baneful fire ns, 
with your ftfains that enchant to deftruftion. Be 
gone ! leave hinm to mc -, it is only my fober mufe 
that can efFcdtuate his cure. Struck with thefe 
reproache;^ the tuneful choir caft down their 
eyes with refpeft ; and teftifying their fl^ame by 
their glowing cheekjj, they immediately left the 
room, and, filled with forrow, fled her prefence. 
As for myfelf, my eyes were blinded by a flood 
of tears, fo that I could not difcover who this 
augufl: dame was, endued with an authority fo 
abfolute. I wa^ amazed ; with my countenance 
fixed on the ground, I waited in filence.her plea- 

©r Walking Philofophers. Thefe two fe£^s, though differing in name, 
agreed generally in things, or in all the principal points of their phi* 
lofophy : thfty placed the chief happinefs of man in vlK\>«, with a 
competency of external ^oods ; taught the c^ciftence of a God, a pro-» 
vidence, the immortality of the foul, and a future (late of rewards 
and puniihments. 

The academicks mentioned above were -denominated the difciples 
of the Old Academy. But Arcefilaus, the fifth mafter of the Academy 
from Plato, difcardcd the fyftems of his prcdeceCors, and revived the 
SoCratick way, of affirming nothing, and dou,bting of all things. 
He and his followers taught, that in all caHes men ought to fufpcnd 
their affent, and content themfelves with opinion grounded on pro- 
bability, which was all that a rational mind had to acquicfce in ; but 
in other matters they generally agreed with their predeceifors. Thit was 
called the New Academy, in diflintUon from the Platonic or the Old. 

Boethius was a great mafter of the Greek philofophy, and was per- 
fectly acquainted with the opinions of all the different fc6ls. But hit 
own principles were founded chiefly on thofe of the Old Academy and 
the Peiipateticks. Thefe were the purefl iburces to draw from, and 
this was the philofophy whicii he had imbibed frohn his early youth. 

The account of the Academy and of the Peripateticks, in this note. 
It taken from Middleton*s Life of Cicero, voU ill. p. 327-8-9. 



fure. Sht foon app]k>ached^ and fat down on the 
foot of my bed j arid beholding my 4qcfted eye, 
and my face disfigured with grief, ibe bewailed 
my wretched condition in the following moving 

•Ah ! haplefs ftate of human race ! Phiiofo hy 

How quick do all their pleafures pafs I exprcffe* 

And too, too weak their minds to bear ccm for" 

Life's varied fcenes of woe arid care. , Bocihiu*. 

When grief's fliarp chorn the heart stffails. 
Of wifdom's fons the purpofc fails i 
Their boafted vigour foon gives way. 
Dark melancholy clouds their day ; ^ 

The helm no longer reafoUs fteers. 
But lawlcfs paflion <Iomineer&. 

T&o fad a proof of this, alas ! • 
Ah, wretched mortal, i« your cafe! ' 
^ Whilft undifgrac'd and unconfin'd. 
How firm and vigorous was your mind ! 
Still ranging with unwearied view 
Creation's ample circuit thro'. 
The fun, refulgent fource of day. 
You trac'd o'er all his radiant way j 
The moon that (hines with borrowed light. 
And cheers with radiance mild the night. 
The filver moon's myfterious round 
Was by your magic numbers bound j 
The planets too that wand'ring go, 
And fecm no fettled courfe to know, 

B4 Their 



Their periods, various and perplexed. 

Were, by your art vi6torious, fix'd ; 

Your to w'ring genius, could, refolvc 

* What makes the heaven's vaft frame revolve, 

Whilft all the lights that gild the fkies. 

In order, daily fet and rife j 

You too could tell, where nature forms 

Her mighty magazines of ftorms, \ 

Which with impetuous fury roll. 

And fliake the earth from pole to poles 

Why Spring awakes the genial hours. 

And decks th' cnamcU'd field with flow'rs. 

You k^ew; — and why kitid Autumn's hand 

Diflfufes plenty o'er the land : 

Thro' all her mazes you purfued 

Coy Nature, and her fecrets view'd. 

But ah ! fad change ! that foaring mind 
Is now difconfolate and blind ; 
To earth-born cares a wretched prey. 
And all the man is funk away. 
Reletitlefs fate has fix'd thofe eyes 
To earth, that whilom pierc'd the fkies. 

But it is my bufiqefs, at prefent, continued fhe, 
to feek a remedy for you \^oes, and not to wafte 
time in fruitlcfs lamentations. Then fixing her 
eyes fteadily upon me. What, fays fhe^ art thou 
he who formerly drank of my milk, and fed on 

* By this we are to underftand the prmnm mobile in the Ptolomean 



piy choiceft nourifliaient, and thence derived 
fuch firnnnefs a^id vigour of mind ? I furnilhed 

^ you with armour which would have rendered yop 
invincible, if you had not thrown it afide. Dp 

. you not know me ? Why don't you fpeak ? Is it 
from fhame or infenfibility that you are filent? 
Would to heaven it were a fenfe of fhame that 
reftrained you ! But I plainlyperceive that it is 
a benumbing ftupor that locks up all your facul- 
ties.— When (he*found that I continued not only 
filent, but deprived of the power of fpeech, ihe 
applied her hand gently to my breaft, and faid 
with a fmile. There is not much here to be 
dreaded; his difeafe is a lethargy of the mind, 
the ufual efFeft of violent and difordcred paffions* 
He has only forgotten himfclf; when he per- 
ceives me he will awake from this ftate of obli- 
vion. To enable him to do this, let us foftly 
wipe his eyes, darkened with clouds arifing from 
terr^ftrial objeds. Having thus fpoke, Ihe took 
lip the fkirt of her robe, and contrafting it into 
a fold, (he applied it gently to pny eyes, and dried 
the tears which fell in abundance. 

Her touf h difpeird the darknefs of my foul *, 
Again mine eyes with wonted vigour roll; 
So, — -fronrj the eaft, When fudden fogs arife. 
And heavy vapoury darken all the fkies, 

* The tranflation of this metrum was commnnicatecl to me by an 
iageniout friend. 



In Ihades obfcure is hid. the folar light, - ^ 
On chcerkfs earth defcends the noon-day night: 
If then the north wind,, from his Thracian cave. 
Sweep thro' the heavens, and brufli along the wave, 
Forth fpring;5 the fun with unrefifted ray. 
And Nature hails the glad return of day. 


The clouds of melancholy being thus difpclled, 
I began to breathe more freely. I lifted up my 
eyes, and recovered my apprehcnfion fo far as 
to recolleft the features of her who had wrought 
upon me fuch a fuddcn cure. T beheld her with 
attention, and foon difcovercd her to be PbUofophyy 
my dear and antient nurfc 5 in whofc boufgj and 
under whofe difciplinc I had been tutored from 
my very infancy. Ah ! fays I, beloved milb-els 
of all the virtues, is it you? and have you 
deigned to d^fccnd from heaven to viGt me in 
this doleful manfion, where 1 am deferted by all 
the world ? Guiklefs as you totally are, (hall you 
be involved with me in trouble, and expofed to 
the falfe accufationa laid to my charge ? — Shall I, 
my beloved pupil, replied (be, (hall I forfakc you ? 
Shall I not bear my (hare in that load of wo, 
which the hatred of mankind overwhelms you 
with, on my account ? It would be criminal in 
Philofophy to defert the fteps of the worthy man, 
however unfortunate. And why do you imagine 
I /hould be afraid of an accufation, and difturbed 
with it, as fomcthing altogether new ? Is it th? 



firft time that Philofophy has been affaulted by the 
impious ? In antient times, and even before the 
age of ^ny Plato, have I not often contended with 
the folly and temerity of men? And during the 
life of that amiable philofophcr, did not his maf- 
tcr Socrates triumph. over an unjuft death *, by 
my affiftance ? The rout of f Epicureans, Scoicks, 


•^ The hiftory of Socrates, the mod illuthlous charaflec for wifjoin 
mnd virtue in all heathen antiquity, and the manner of hb death, it 
univerfally known. Erafmus (dys in one of his dialogues^ that he 
never read the glorious end of Socrates, but he exclaimed, San^e ' 

Socrates 1 ora pro nobis 5 — -'O faint Socrates I pray for us. 

f Epicurus, the founder of the Epicureans, was of Gargetium in 
the neighbourhood of Athens. He died about 1^71 years before the 
chriftian asra. The Epicureans held pleaXure to be the chief good of 
man ; death the exttn6):ion of his ^ being ; and placed their happinefc, 
confequently in the fecure enjoyment of a pleafurable life j efteeming 
virtue on no other account, than as it was a handmaid to pleafure, 
and helped to enfure the poffeflion of it, by preferving health and con- 
ciliating friends. Their wife man, therefore, had no other duty but 
to provide for his own eafe, to decline all ftruggles, to retire from 
public affairs, and to imitate the life of their gods, ~by palTing his days 
in a calm, contemplative, and undiilurbed repofe, in the midft of rural 
(hades and pleafant gardens, 

Epicurus, by all accounts vre have of him, vvas a very amiable man*, 
calm, temperate, and benevolent : but it muft, however, be eonfeifed, ' 
that the principles which he taught had a very bad influence upon 

Zeno was the founder of the Stoicks, who took their name from 

CfA, a porch or portico ; for it was in a fpacious and finely em* 

'bellifhed portico in Athens, where they ufed to meet an<i^ difpute* 

Zeno was born at Citium, a fea-port town in the iflahd of Cyprus, and 

died at the age of 98, 264 years before the birth of our Saviour. 

The Stoicks were the bigots or enthufiafts in philofophy, who held * 
none to be truly wife and good but themfelves. They believed in one, 
fupreme God, -who goveined the wocld, and every thing in it^ by hit 
prOfidence } they held hie 2md predeftination> inculcated apathy or 

. freedom 



t)f wile men 
^ho had 
¥flih dil& 

and feverail other feds, wipted to get immediate 
poflcffion of the/ inheritance of this trtdy divine 
man j and becaufe I oppofed them, and ftrovc 
againft them^ they fell upon me as if I had been 
a part of their prey; tore this robe^ which I had 
^Ifj^ovcn with my own hands, and going away with 
/hrcds of it, they vainly imagined they had ob- 
tained poffcfUon of me, and of all my treafures. 
Their raflinefs was the caufe, that others, who were 
equally ignorant, beholding them clothed with my 
fpoils> were credulous enough to believe that 
they belonged to me, and were my genuine dif- 

But if you are not fo well acquainted with the 
flight of Anaxagoras •, the poifoning of Sotrates, 

freedom from all paflions ; placed perfe6l happincfs in virtue, though 
(Iript of every other good j affirmed all fins to be equal, all deviations 
from right equally wicked j taught that a wife man could, never for- 
give, never be moved by anger^ favour or pity, never, be decdved^ 
liever repent, liever change bis mind. 

The principles of the Stoicks, it muft be^acknowledged, were too 
Hgorous, and abounded too much with paradoxes. But the beft m^n. 
of antiquity were of this feft, and rendered it very illuftriops. Part 
■6f the fhort account of the principles of the Epicureans and Stoicks, in 
the above note, arc taken from Middleton'fe excellent Life of CicerO| 
p. 360, 362^ 

There were feveral bthej* fe^s of philefophcrs among the Greeks, 
^hich Boe*hius here alludes to,^ but does not particularly mention. 

* One of the illuftrious philofophers in antiquity : he lived before 
Soci'ates, and was of Clazomene in Ionia. He was the difciple off 
An^ximenes, and applied himfelf entirely to natural philofopliy, and 
£iid*he was born to contemplate the fun, , the moon, and ftars. He 
dwelt long at Athens, but was at length obliged to fly from it, fer 
advancing do^iines contrary to the received opinions in that city^t 

« f and 


^ 9. 


and the torments which Zeno * endured, bctairic 
thefe philofophers were not of ydur^own country; 
you muft certainly have a thorough knowledge of 
the tragical -ftories of f Canius, of Seneca, and 
Soranus, whofc ni^nmory is ftill ib recent, and fo 
much celebrated. The fole caufe of whofe mif^* 
fortunes was, that having imbibed vcty precepts, 
their rtianners were incompatible with thofe of the 
impious men, who were invefted with the fupremi^ 
power. Be not therefore furpri?ed, if in thiS 
ocean of life we ftiould meet with thp fev^reft 
ftorms, as we propofe to ourfelves no other end 
but to difpleafe the wicked^ who, ' though a 
very numerous tribe, are more to be defpifed jchaa 
dreaded ; becaufe, having no chief to yoite and 
govern them, they are afljuated by the unft^ady 
cownfels of Error and Phrenzy. Impelled by their 
malice, fhoiild tbey gtt^ck us with ^dvanwgfi 

• The Zeno here mentioned, vvfls the inventor of logick. As he 
was t^e chief in a confpir acy to reftore liberty to his country, he wat» 
Mpon the difcoyery of it, i^oft crjielly tortured by Nearchji?, tyrant pf 
Elca. , ^ 

f Canius was an excelient philofopher ; he was condemned to deatii 
by the emperor Caligula ; and endured it, as Seneca relates, witli 
amazing fortitude. The hiiiory of Seneca, the faipous philolbpher, 
and tutor of Nero, and the death he underwent, are known to all the 
^orld. Bareas Soranus was cotemporary with Seneca ; he was aa 
eminent pl^iloibpher, smd a man of the greateft integrity. HLs virtuei 
were fo ofFenfive to Nero, that he was put to death by the tyrant. Th> 
^expreffion of Tacitus, concerning him and Thrafeas Psetus, is re- 
markable : ♦* After the murder of fb many excellent perfons, Nero at 
laft formed a defire of cutting off virtue itfelf, in the c:^ec|iti9n oi 
ThraiJB^s P9t.Vis stod JSareaji jSorani^s/* 








in the open. field, Reafon, our guide^ collefts her 
fcattered forces, and retires within her ramparts. 
The wicked, in the mean while, employ them- 
fclves in pillaging our ufelefs baggage ; but wc, 
little regarding their impotent fury, laugh at them 
whilfb they deprive us of fo poor a booty, en- 
trenched as we are in a fortrefs infurmountablc 
to all the attempt^ of folly. 

The man who triumphs over fate. 
Determined is,— in every ftate i-— ^ 
Elated not,— with gladdening rays. 
When fortune beautifies his days 5 
And when (he's trcachVous, fhifts the fccne. 
Still undejefted and ferene : 
When angry ocean fwells and raves, 
. He fcorns its moft tcmpeftuous waves j 
When earthquakes fliake, and thunders roll. 
They daunt not his intrepid foul, 
•^^houlci nature's frame disjointed fly *, 
And the whole world in ruins lie. 
He unconcern 'd the (hock would hear, 


Nor to his breaft admit a fear. 

Such vigour marks the truly fage j— - 
> Why fear you then the tyrant's rage ? 
In virtue wrapt, all cares above. 
The wife nor hopes nor fears can move y ^ ^ 
Lord of himfelf, fecure he reigns, 
Defpifing prifons, racks and chains. 

• In this paraphrafe, the tranflator has had a very celebrated paf- 
fiige of Horace in his view. V 





But haplefs he who quits his ihleldf 
And daftardly rcfigns the field : 
Wretched the man whofe heart givps Way, 
And finks to fear and grief a prey ; 
Do what he lifts, fly where he will^ 
Thefe baneful paffions hauntjiij;«rffill j 
To break his fetters, ancj^dgain 

Sweet peace, his efforts^all are vain. 


Do thefe ftrains aflTea/you ? Do they reach 
your heart ? Or are you -as infenfible to them as 

•the afs is to the found of the lyre * ? You weepj 
— why this profufion of tears ? Speak,— conceal 
nothing — you can exped no afliftancc from a 
phyficiap, unlefsyou difcover to him your njalady. 
Struck with thefe words, I recollected fomewhat 

. of my long-loft vigour, and thus addreflcd her. 
Alas ! why need I enter into a recital of my woes i 
With regard to me, is not fortune's unrelenting 
rage hut too apparent ? Are not you ftruck with 
the horror of this place? Do you find here the 
library, which, in my houfe, you chofc for your 
refidcncc ? that library, where, bleft with your 
converfc, I was taught every fcience human and 
divine. Was fuch my apparel ? Was my coun* 
tenance fuch, when with you I was wont, to ex- 
plore the fecrcts of nature? when with your 
compafs you defcribed to me the courfes of the 
ftars, and taught me, by that order and harmony 

* Peaf as the aft to the found of the lyre, was a Greek proverb. , 
Q fo 


fo confpicuous in the heavens, to form my man-* 
mvs and the whole tenour of my life ? Is this 
th^n all the reward you confer upon your faithful 
folloVer ? — From the mouth of your Plato, you 
pronou>K;?d this fine faying^ *^ That happy were 
** the ftace^pwjiofe princes were philofophers, or^ 
** whofe magiftrat^; applied themfelves to the 
^* ftudy of wiixldm *.'' Infpired by thee, the fa^me 
iljuftrious perfon recommends it as the indifpen- 
fable duty of philofophtTS, to take upon them the 
management of pubHc affairs, left the reins of 
' government {hould fall into the hands of^ unprin- 
^ ^ cipled prdfligates, who would thereby become 
the plague and ruin of every worthy ^citizen -f-. 
Bocthius Relying upon this authority, I had nothing fa 
Philofophy much at heart, during my public adminiftration, 
hi5 merits. ^^ ^^ rcduce to praftice the inftruflions which 
I learned from you in our ftudious retirements 
' God, who infufes your leflbns into the hearts of 
the truly. wife, and you yourfelf, are conlcious, 
that I ^brought along with me into the magiftracy 
no other principle, /but a generous and impartial 
zeal for the welfare of the virtuous. Hence 1 
was involved in perpetual and irreconcileable dif- 
cord with the wicked ; but the confcioufnefs of 
my integrity infpired me with an invariable con- 

I • 

* Th!s maxim of Plato is taken from the 5th book of his RepuHic* 

^ The advice here giveti to philofophers, to take upon them thd 
direflion of public affairs, is to be found in Plato's 6th dialogueyycon- 
Cfrnliig a Republic. 

.5 tempt 






tempt of the refentment of the great, and prompt-* 
cd me refolutely to perfevere in fupporting the 
rights of equity. How often have I oppofcd my- 
felf to Conigaftus *, when he was opprcffing the 
weak, and bereaving them qf their poffeflions? 
How often have I put a Hop to the iniquitous 
proceedings of Triquilla; the fuperintendent of 
the king's houfhold, and difconcerted his fchemes 
when almoft ripe for execution ? How frequently 
have I riflced my authority in protefting thofc 
unhappy citizens, whom the lawlefs barbarians 
had charged with innumerable flanders, in hopes 
of fliaring the plunder of their fortunes ? There 
is no man that can reproach me with deviating 
from the paths of juftice, into thqfe of fraud and 
oppreffion. While the provinces were oppreflcd 
with private rapine, and the weight of public 
taxes, I beheld their fate with concern, and 
grieved no lefs than the unhappy fufFerers them- 
fclves. . In the time of a fevere famine, when the 
province of Campania was ordered to fupply the 
city of Rome with fuch a vaft quantity of corn 
^s would have intirely ruined it, I entered into 
a very warm expoftulation with the prefe6t of the 
palace t, in the prefence of the king; and got 

C that 

* Conigaftus was probably a farmer or receiver-general of tbe taxes. 

+ The prefect of the palace was originally the captain of the cohorts 
that attired the emperor as his guard. It became afterwards an 
ofEce of the higheft power and dignity in the empire. To the perfon 
invefted with it,, was committed the adminiftration of juftice^ the 





that fine country relieved of the unreafonablc 
burthen. I delivered Paulinus, a worthy con- 
fular, from the jaws of the courtiers, who, 
impelled by avarice and aiiibition, were like 
greedy dogs, already devouring him and his great 
wealth, in their wicked imaginations. In defence 
of Albinus, another of the confulars, I expofed 
myfclf to the refentment of Cyprian, an infamous 
informer, who had laid a plot to deftroy that 
refpeftable feriator by a fialfc accufation. Is it 
hot then fufEciently manifeft, what a load of en- 
mity and bitter refentment I muft have incurred ? 
But after all, I thought I had the more reafon to 
expefl: fricndfliip and fupport frorri the reft of 
mankind ; as from my love of juftice, I had for- 
feited all favour at court, and thrown myfclf out 
of its protedion. 
Boethius But let US fcc who were my accufers : one Ba- 
accufation fiHus, who was formerly difmiffed with infamy 
mcntr*^' from the king's fervice, and who turned informer 
againft me in hopes of relieving his nreccflities 
with my fpoils ; one Opilio, and one Gaudentius, 
« who, for their innumerable frauds and extortions, 

/ were banilhed by a royal mandate, and who, re- 
fufing to fubmit to this fentcnce, fled for fandtu- 
« ary 

nAanagement of the finances, and thfc fuperintendcncy of the preficlentfl 
or governors of provinces. KingJTheodorick, as it is obferved in 
the life of Boethius, p. 5. wifely ruled the Romans, by the faftie la\jvs, 
the fame polity, and the fame magiftrates they wfere accuflomed to 
under the emperors. Hence it was, that for nliriy years they weic 
pitafed with his government. 



OF \PHlLOSol^HY. <^ 

ary to one of the facred edifices ; whereof, wheil 
the king ^as infornoed, he commanded them, if 
before a certain day they departed not from 
Rayenna *, to be feized, ftigmatized in the fore- 
head, and driven out of the city. What could 
be more difgraceful than this ihtended chaftifc- 
nient ? But on the very day it was to be executedn 
they accufed me, and obtained credit enough 
to get their accufations received and attended to* 
Whereby may I aflc you, has my conduft de- 
ferved this injufticc ? Was there any fhadow ot 
equity in lifteriing to the teftimony of three pro- 
fligates already condemned ? If Fortune is not 
alhamed of the accufation of injured innocence^ 
one would think flie might at leaft bluih at the 
baferitfs and infamy of its accufers. But you 
want to be informed of the crime laid to my 
charge: — I am accufed with endeavouring to 
preferve the fenate. But you a(k. me how ? 
It is faid, that I hindered an informer from pro- 
ducing proofs, which would have convidled thac 
aflembly of treafoh. What do you think of this, 
'my dear miftrefsf? Shall I deny the crime, that 

• A city of Italy, Upon the coaft of the Adriatick, lying to tht 
north of Rome, and diftant from) it about 200 miles. Several of th« 
later weftern emperors had fixed their refidence in this <^y, that they 
might be at hand to r^ftrain the irruptions of the barbarians, who on 
that fide broke into Italy. For the fame reafon, Theodorick, and 
his fvicceiTors the kings of the Goths, and afterv^ards, the exarch 
or governors of Italy under tlie eaftern emperors^ continued to make 
it the feat of government. 

f fioethius fays this ironically. 

C a you 



you may not be alhamed of me ? No, I freely 
acknowledge that I had the prefervation of the 
fenate always at heart, and that I fhall never ceafc 
to promote its intereft. Shall I therefore con- 
fefs the charge? But; it certainly ought td be my 
bufinefs to embarrafs my informers, and not to 
yield up to them my caufe. Shall I own it a 
crime to wifli the fafety of that aflembly ? Its ini- 
quitous dccifions with regard to me, gives it in- 
deed the appearance of one. Although, for 
want of refleftion, mankind deceive and impofc 
upon themfeJves, this does not alter the nature of 
things. Befides, I do not think it lawful, and I 

^have Socrates's authority for it, either to conceal 
the truth, or acknowledge a falfliood. With 
regard to this, however, I fubmit myfelf to 
your judgment, and to the opinions of the wife. 
At all events, I fliall take particular care to tranf- 
mit a faithful account of the circumftances of my 
profeciition to pofterity,J having them rivetted in 

' my memory, and prefcrvcd in writing. But why 
fliould I fpend time, in fpeajcing to you of the 
forged letters, wherein I am charged with wifliing 
the reftoration of Roman liberty ? The villainy 
of this contrivance I could have eafily deteded, 
if I had been allowed to have made ufe of the con- 
feflions of my accufers ; but this privilege was de- 
nied to me, though of the greateft importance to 
my juftification. But alas ! arc there the fmalleft 



remains' of liberty to be hoped for ? Woiild to' 
heaven there were ! Then, I would have anfwercd 
as Canius did, when he was accufed by the em- 
peror Caligula, of being acquainted with a con-, 
fpiracy againft his life j " If I had been privy to 
any fuch thing/' faid he to the tyrant, *^ you fliould 
never have known it." But after all, my forrow 
and venation have not deprived me fo much of 
the ufe of my faculties, as to m^ke me think it 
ftrange, that the impious fhould form attempts 
againft virtue ; but what furprizes me above 
meafure, is to behold their attempts crowned 
with fuccefs. To will evil is an efledt of our 
corruption i but to commit it, to opprefs inno- 
icence with impunity, under the eye of a Deity 
who fees every thing— to me appears a prodigy. 
Hence it was, that one of your difciples, not im- 
properly, put this queftion : If there is a God, 
whence proceeds evil? If there is none, whence ^ 
arifes^W? But though wicked men, -who thirft 
after the blood of the fenate, and of all the vir. 
tuopS citizens whofe interefts I always vigoroufly 
fupported, might very naturally wifh my de- 
ftrudionj did I deferve^fuch ufa^e from the ve- 
nerable fathers themfelves ? 

You will undoubtedly remember, you who Bocthius. 
were always prefent with me, and direfted me in fheftnaity 
all my words* and aftions i you will remember, *"5* '"Jf- 

' , . gi'ity of hit 

I fay, with what entire inattention to my ow|l lift, 
fafcty I defended the innocence of (he fenate at 

C 3 VcEpnai 


Verbna; when theking,defirous of their deftruc* 
tion, endeavoured to transfer the crime of high 
trcafoD, whereof Albinus was accufed, upon the 
whole of that affembly. You know what I now 
fay to be tfue, and that I take no delight in ex- 
tolling myfelf. For in nny opinion, a man who 
feeks to raifc his reputation by vaunting hisgopd 
ideeds, lejSens, in fome me^fure, the fecrec fat if-* 
faftion that ^fpriflgs from a ijslf- approving con- 
fcience. But what have I gained by my integrity ? 
Jnftead of receiving the reconipencc of difinter- 
«fted virtue, I fufFer the punilhmcnt due to the 
blacked cringe. W^s there ever a criminal con-? 

. demned by judges fo un^nirnoufly fevere, but 
that in fome of their breads a fenfe, .cither of hu- 
irjan frailty, or the inftability^of fortune, to which 
^11 are fubjefted^ did not awake fentiments of 
compaffion, and caufe theng to vary in their ver- 

,^ diAs ? If I had been acoufed of meditating to 
fet the facred temples in flames^ of defigning 

' to (heathe my impious poignard in the bofoms 
of the priefts, of atteqrjpting the lives of all the 
virtuous and the good j yet I ought to have been 

-prefent at rtry trial, nor fhould any fentence have 
paft upon me, 'till I had made a confeflion of my 
crime, or had been fairly conviftcd of it, But 
nowf for pny zealous afFeftian and attachriient to 
the fenate, wnheard -and undefended, I am, ^t the 
^ diftance of fiyp hundred nailfSf profcribed and 
condemned to death. Q,- ipy judges ! well do 
you deferv? that |iq futof e patriot fhould aril« 



to be conviifled of the like offence. My accy- 
fcrs themfelves, perceiving the fplcndor of my 
merit, endeavoured to blacken it^ by imputing 
to me one of the moft atrocious crimes, an4 
therefore feigned that I had' polluted my con- 
/cience with forcery *, in briguing fgr the con- 
folate. But, rriy fovereign direftrefs! you can 
atteft the falfhood of this reproach; you, ^ho 
have reigpcd fo long itiiftrefs of my brcaft, and 
rooted out thence every ignoble fentiment ; you 
know, that it was impoflible for me to commit 
fuch a crime under your infpedion, Daijly are 
you founding in my ^ars, apd infinuating into ; 
my heart, that golden /entence of Pythagoras, \ 
Take Gad for your niodel. SJiould I not then hav^c ' 
A<9:ed very inconfiftently, ip feeking afliftanqe 
froiti wielded and unlawful arts, when you had 
exalted my min4 to the height of ^xqeUence, by 
forming it into a cefcmbji^nce of the Deity ? Bc- 
^des, my houfc, which was as it were the fane- 
tuary of innocence j the fociety oi my friends, 
an people of the grc^tcft worth; the alli- 
ance of my father-in-l^w Symachp^, a man of 
qonfumm^te virtue, and for whom I h^ve a re* 
vercnoe ^ual almoft tp that whicfe I bear to 
y^piurffelf— all thefe confiderations ought to. hftve 

• The common reading is facrilegio 5 but fomc commentators 
<\{\fik\ with much probiibiJity, tkatike true reading is /»rtileghi and 
that the crime which jBkKtb^vs mop^yns y^ h jpt;ch horror, was 
forcery, or the pra^ifing of naagical arts. In the tranflation I have, 
followed this reading. 

C 4 raifed 

the lofs of 


raifcd mc far above the fufpicion of fuch a crime. 
But, O horrid impiety ! they impute my crime to 
you ; and I am looked upon as a guilty perfon 
becaufe I have been educated under your difci- 
pline, and imbibed your morals*. Thus, it is not 
enough, that the reverence due to you has been 
of no advantage to me; but you mull befides 
fuffer reproach on my account. 

But my miferies are compleat, when I re- 
flc6t that the majority of mankind attend lefs to 
bis digni. ^h^ merit of things, than to their fortuitous events 

ties and re- . * • 

put^tipn, and believe that no undertakings are crowned 
with fuccefs,- but fuch as are formed with a pru- 
dent forefight. Hence it is, that the unprofper- 
cus immediately lofe the good opinion of man- 
kind. It would give me pain to relate to you, 
the rumours that are flying among the people, 
, and the variety of difcordant and inconfiftent opi- 
nions entertained concerning me. This only will 
1 fay, that the fevered ftroke the unfortunate 
can receive, is the perfuafion that they fufFer no 
more than what they deferve. As to what re- 
gards myfclf, as I am now deprived of my pof- 
feflionJ, my employments, and my reputation, 
I look upon the death which awaits me, as a fa- 
vour. But ah! methinks I fee the numerous 
band of the wipked, drunk aqd overflowing with 
joy^ the abandoned race of informers contriving 
vnheard-of villainies, the good dejefted and filled 
' Wf th terror at mj fate^ I figure to myfclf th^ 
' flagitious. 


r * 

flagitious, daring every crime with impunity 5 nay, 
encouraged to perpetrate their abominable deeds 
by rewards 5 while the inilocent are abandoned, 
dteprived of their fecurity, without proteftion, and 
without defence* Wherefore with reafon may I 
thus exclaim : * 

S Author of the ftarry fky. 

Thou, who feated flill on high 

On thine everlafting throne, 

Moveft all ; — unmov'd alone ; 

Thouj whofe laws the ftars obey. 

Whirling round their rapid way. 

Shining now with luftre bright. 

Now obfcur^d by Cynthia's light. 

As (he to the fuft retires 

Or more diftant meets his fires ; 

While, brighteft of the dewy throngi # 

Vefper leads the choir along. 

And again renews his horn. 

Cheerful meflcnger of morn.— 

Tbpu, when winter waftes the plain, 

Setteft day a fhort-liv'd reign; 

Thou, when fummer blazed bright, 

Wingeft the flow hours of night 1 

Changing feafons as they roU^ 

Providence divine extol, . 

What — tho' winter's rage deforms,— 

Spring renews the wafte of ftorn)s, 

Sumnier ripens Ceres' ftorc, » 

Autumn flows with goodnefs o'er. 



Thro' her wide-fxtepded round ■ 
Nature faftin fate i^ bound; 
JJothJDg ftrays, — but humaA will, 
(Ah top fle?^ible to ill !): — 
Sovereign Wifdom, why fhpuld man 
Trefpafs thus tipon thy plan f 
Blinded, why to reafon's ray 
Wanders he fronn virtue's way ? 

Why ft)ould fortune, fickic danfie, 
Ceafelefs play her cruel game ? 
Deal to worth the doom fevere. 
Impious crimes dcferve to bear ? 
Seat the tyrant on a throne ? 
Bend the world beneath his frown ? 
Lift the profligate oh high. 
Vice abhorr'd to gratify ? 
Infolenf to tread in duft 
The brave, benevolent, .andjuft? , 

See fair Virtue ftript of all, 
Langdifhing in want and thrall ! 
L61— *flie flies to haunts obfcure, 
To reft from violence fecure ; 
Still (he (hines ferenely great, 
, Happy in her calm retreat. 
<rrimes, alas! of deepeft ftaini 
Rapine, perjury profane. 
Fraud inlying colours clad. 
Injure not, nor fliamc the bad ! 
' 'Deep contriving mifchief ftilU 
Ah! th^y vex the world at will ^ 
' " Work 



WotJc by wicked arts the Call ' 

Of kings reve4-?d and lov*d by^all ! . ^ 

** O Thou, who gavefl: Oxder bu-th, 
** Regard the mrferics of earth j, - . 

^[ For man, ala^ ! creation's boaft;, 
*' In fortune's fca is endlels toft I 
'*' Gracious cooipofc each flornay gale, 
*/ Give b4s fr^M b^rk rtiore fnjiwth to ftU :: 
^' O fend th^t; concord and that Jove 
** To rule be)pw, which rules alaove l" 

When I had vented my grief in thefe melan- Phiiofophy 
choly ftrains, (he, with a countenance ferene and 5octluu$» 
unruffled with vny complaints, thus addrefled me^ 
When I faw you forxowful and in tears, 1 imme- 
diately knew you were miferable and in exilej 
but I fhould not have known how far you were 
banijhed from your home, unlefs I had learned it 
from yourfelf You have not, however, been 
driven from your country.; but you have unhap- 
pily wandered from it: or, if you will 'have it 
'that you have been baniihed, ypu have banifhed 
yoiirfe-ffj for it was not in the power of any mor-j- 
tal to do you fuch an injury. Gall to your re- 
membrance of what country you arcj it is not 
^governed by a multitude as Athens was formerly^ 
but it is ruled by one Iking, one lord, who^ far 
from bani filing his citizens, delightj5 xo fee tliem 
encreafe and flourilhi it is ruled by a fovereign 
vh>k poflTclTcd of tru^ liberty, a§ i!rom;the per-^ 






fe&ion of his nature he is incapable of doing 
evil, and abhors all unrightcoufnefs. Are you 
ignorant of that antient law of Rorftc, by which 
it is decreed to be uhjuft to banilh any pcrfon 
thence that takes up hisrefidcnce in hi. A iaw 
founded upon this principle, that whoever hath 
ODtained the happinefs of being fettled within the 
bounds of fo noble a city, can never be prefum- 
cd to defcrve the puhilhment of exile ; but if he 
ceafes to defire to be an inhabitant of it, he then 
ceafes to merit that privilege. This place, gloomy 
as it is, does not therefore move me fo much as 
your rt)cIancholy afpeft. I am in no pain from 
the wapt of your library, whofe walls were fo 
richly gdorned with glafs and ivory ; but it is the 
Jofs of the compofure and tranquillity of your 
mind that affefts me. *Twas there, 'twas in that 
precious repofitory that I ftored up, not books, 
but what gives books their value, the fpirit and 
quinteflcnce^ of my medit^itions and writings. As 
to what you have done for the public advantage, 
you have told me nothing but the truth ; and you 
have mentioned few particulars in comparifon of 
what you might. With regard tn the accufations 
that have been brought agaifift you, it is univef- 
fally acknowledged that part of them tend greatly 
to your honour, while the reft are palpable and 
malicious falftioods, Yqu judged right in re^ 
cpijnting but (lightly, th6 villainy and bafe artifi- 
ces of the informers i as the public, who are fen* 




fible of their wickcdncfs, in ' all its extent, will 
fay much more upon this fiibjeft than it becomes 
you. You have inveighed feverely againft the 
unjuft decree* of the fenate. You have vented 
your affli'ftion becaufe I am involved in your ac- 
cufation; and you have lamented the prejudice 
that is thereby done to my doftrines and inftruc- 
tions. You broke forth afterwards in a torrent 
of grief againft fortune, and complained that 
mankind were not rewarded according to their 
merits. And at laft, hurried away by your dif- 
tempered mufe, you dared to wifh that the fpiric 
of peace, which rules in heaven, might rule the 
earth. But as I behold a crowd of various paflions 
attacking you all at once; as I fee you dif- 
trafted by grief, rage, and melancholy, as this 
is the ftate of your mind, it is not now a time to 
employ violent remedies ; we fliall at prefent 
therefore only apply fome agreeable lenitives, 
whofe gentle touch may in fome meafure miti- 
gate the deep wound that rankles in your heai-t, 
and difpofe you to receive afterwards medicines 
ftonser and more efficacious. 


When Sol, refplendent god of day. 
From Cancer darts his fcorching ray; 
To the parch'd earth who trufts the feed 
Can ne'er expeft on Ceres gifts to feed. 



Front mounitiins of perpetual Ihow, 
. When Boreas' blafts* tmpetmms blow; 
• The lawns and woods the wartd'ring fwainr 
Explores for purple viokts in vain. 

Let tendrils in the fpriftg efc^pe 
If thou wduld'ft prefs the juicy grape 
In Autunm, when gay Bacchus pours 
With bounteous hand his foxrf- enlivening 

Who governs all^ that Powc^ fublime 
To every work a proper time 
Has fix'd i prefuniptuous then the man 
Who counterafts wife Providence's plan» 

Who impious from that order ftrays. 
And wanders in untroddeiv ways, , 
His toil afliduous with fuccefs 
Gan never hope a righteous power will bjefs* 


PhUofdphy Firft then, allow me, continues Ihe, to aflc 
more par- y<w a few queftions upon the prefent ilate of your 
Into^ *Bie. mi^;>d, that I may know in what manner I ought 
thius's to proceed in your cure. Afk me what you 
and the plcafc, replied I, I fhall' moft willingly anfwef 
thera! ^^ y^"* '^^^ "^^ x}ci^n^ fays (he, do you believe 
that the affairs of this world are under the direc- 
tion Q& Wind fortune, or conducbed by a wife and 
rational intelligence ? I can by no means believe, 
anfwered I, that the beautiful order we every 
where obfcrvc in nature, could proceed from the 



caprice and fffegularity of chanced. J know cer- 
tainly thai! God, the creator of the tiniterfe, pfre^ 
fides over his work. There nevef was a day bf 
my life, in which I hefitated 2L nnonnent with rer 
gard to the certainty of this comfortable truth. I 
believe you, fays ihej for a little while fincc 
you declared you were of this opinion, when 
deploring in your moving verfes the unfortunate 
date of the human race, as alone deftitute of the 
divine care, you allowed that all other things 
Were guided by a rational intelligence. Ah ! con- 
tinued ftie, I am above meafure furprized, that 
you Ihould defpond, when upheld by fo comfort- 
able a fentiment! But we muft fearch farther-, I 
am afraid there is fome imperfeftion, fome de- 

fcft in this conviction. Tell me, then, fince you 
have no doubt but that God governs the world, 
do you know by what oeconomy or lecret fprings 
he governs it? The meaning of your queftion, 
faid I, I do not thoroughly comprehend, and 
therefore cannot return the proper anfwer. Was 
I miftaken then, added fhe, when I told you 
there was fome defed in your fentiment upon 
tliis fubjeft ? it is by this weak place that thefe 
gloomy perturbations, , as through a breach, 
have made way into your breaft. But inform me, 
do you rccolleft for what end all things were^ 
cfeajed? or what is the purpofe of this amazing 
frame of nature? I once knew, anfwered t, but, 
grief has blotted every thing out of my memory. 
Q Do 



Do you know, ^ddcd fhe, whence all things de- 
rive their exiftence ? This I know pcrfeftly, re- 
plied I— from God. And how happens it, con- 
tinued flie, that knowing the caufe of all things, 
you (hould be ignorant of their end ? But the na- 
ture of thefe perturbations has ever been fuch, as 
to (hake and unfettlc the minds of men ; although 
not totally to opprefs and overpower themr But 
pray anfwer me this queftion : Do you remem- 
ber you are a man ? I am not fo diftempered, 
faid I, as to forget that. Can you tell me then, 
fays fhe, what man is ? If you alk me whether I 
know myfelf to be a rational and mortal creature, 
I know, replied I, and confefs that I am. And 
• do not you perceive, fays fhe, that you are fome- 
thing more ? I do pot know, anfwered I, what 
^ more I am. I difcover now another, added flie, 

and indeed the principal caufe of yourdiftemper. 
You no longer remember what you yourfelf are. 
Thus then have I, at the fame time, found out 
the fource of your malady, and the method of 
reftoring you to health. For as you have for- 
gotten what you are, you complain of your beino^ 
banilhed and flripped of your pofTeflions j as you 
know not the end and purpofe of things, you 
believe wicked and lawlefs men are powerful and 
happy; and as you are ignorant of the oeconomy 
or fecret fprings by which the world is governed, 
you imagine that the vicjffitudes of life arje the 
work of fortune, and thit all human affairs float 




at random, without the interpofition of a fupremc 
Ruler. Imaginations fuch as thefe do not only 
generate difeafes of the foul, but if they are in- 
dulged, they will utterly ruin it. Give thanks, 
then, to the preferver of your being, that nature 
has not totally failed ia you. The encourage- 
ment I have to expedt your cure, is derived 
from the juft notions you entertain in relation to 
the governmenp of the univerfe ; that it is not left 
to chance, but is under the direction of God and 
his providence. Do not defpair : this fmall fpark 
will foon produce heat enough to reftore you to 
life. But as it is not noW a proper time to make 
ufe of ftrong remedies, and becaufe fuch is the 
nature of the human foul, that no fooner does it 
'throw afide true opinions, but it embraces falfe : 
and as hence there ariles a mift of gloomy emo- 
tions, which darkens jthe underftanding, and gives 
it a fallacious view of objeds; 1 (hall therefore 
endeavour to diflipate thefe vapours, by applying 
foft and gentle fomentations, fo that the dark 
and deceitful illufions of the paffions being thus 
removed, you will rejoice when you behold the 
fplendor of the true light fhining in upon your 


* When clouds arife 

And veil the (kies, 

Heav'n's fhining hoft 

To fight is loft.— The 

_ « 

• The trandation of this metrum wa« done by my late worthjf 
lu'othei: Mr. George Ridpath, minifter of Stitchill, and author of the 

J) Border 


The rolling wave 
When tempcfts heave ; 
The gla0y main. 
Like flues ferene 
Erft pure and bright, 
* Now tors the fight ; 

So foul the flood 
With boiling mud. — 
The rapid brook 
Which late forfook 
The cloud^top'd hill. 
Its devious rill 
Finds oft withstood, 
^ By. fragments rude 
Loos'd from the rock 
By wafte or Ihock.— 
Then if you'd learn 
Sure to difccrn 
Froqi falfe the true. 
And to purfue 
By Reafon's light 
^ The path of right J— 

Falfe joys expel. 
Vain terrors quell. 

Border Hiftoxy. Though the verfion is literal , it exprelfes the fenfe 
cH the original very clearly. The fliort lines are a defigned imitation 
«f the numbers of the origiiuiI)| a fpecimen of which I ^nnex. 

Nulnbits atris 
Condita nullum 
Pundere pofiiint 
Sidera lumen* 



f » 



Mopes that delude 
, And forrows brood,—* 
Gi;ofs vapours blindj 
Strong fetters bind/ 
The wretched foul, 
• Where (Ae/i controul. 


r ' ' ♦^ 'j 

,. / 

D 1 





Pbilofophy exhorts Boethius not to torment himfelf 

upon account of his lojfes. She de/cribes the. in- 

conjiancy and caprice of Fortune. ^--""^Expoflulates 

with him in the name of Fortuned Shows him 

that he is not miferahle^ but pojfejfed of much fe- 
licity. AJfures him that felicity doth not con^ 

Jift in the gifts of Fortune. That it is not to be 

found in riches. Nor in power and honours. — 

Nor in glory and fame. — -r^Fbilofophy concludes 
this Book teaching Boethius that adverje fortune is 
often profitable. 

AFTER thisi the goddefs paufed a while, 
and having engaged my attention by her 




not to tor. lilencc and compofure, ftie thus proceeded : — If I 
feif upon * have rightly difcovered the caufcs and nature of 
hU*h)ffef?^ your diftemper, you regret the lofs of your, for- 
mer fortune, and languilh with the d^fire of its 
return 5 *tis this change of condition, which you 
arc always revolving in your diftempcred imagi- 
nation, that has overwhelmed your fpirit. I 
know pofedly the innuaieraJ^le tricks of Fortune^ 
• • how. 


> V 

' M, 


how (he flatters, with the moft alluring profpe6ls, 
thofe whom fhc defigns to deceivei and, when they 
are not in the leaft apprehenfive of her inconftancy, 
leaves them on a fudden, and plunges them in 
defpair. If you will but recall to your fnemoryj " 
the nature, the charafter, and manners of this 
idol, you will readily acknowledge, that fhe ne-A , 
ver gave, nor hath fhe deprived yotj of any thing \^ 
fo really eftimable as to make you defrre^the 
pofTeffion of it again, or- regret its iofj;*- But r 
flatter myfelf, I fhalt not have much difEculty to 
bring thefe things to your remembrance. You 
were wont to treat with a noble and manly dif- 
dain, this deceitful Fortune, when (he approached 
you with the moft flattering carefl^es: you had 
conftantly in ypur mouth, fentences drawn from 
my magazines, with which you battled and re- 
pulfed her. But fuch is the condition 'of huma- 
nity, that every fuddep change excites violent 
emotions in the breaft, and bereaved it of tran- 
quillity-, and hence it is that your prefent 
diftrefs arifes. I (hall now give you, as I be- 
fore propofed, fome gentle and agreeable emolli- 
ents, by which you may be prepared to receive 
with greater advantage, the more powerful cor- 
dials I have in referve. Approach then, Rhe- 
torick, with all thy perfuafive chalrms/'whilft 
under my guidance:, thy captivating art is moft 
falutary and beneficial. Come alfo, Mufick, ano- 
ther of my train, and pour forth thy melodious 

D J ftrains. 



ftrtins, a,t timps cbceiful and airy, and anon of a 

g^v^r and more fcdeipn tone* 
The in. What is it thcn, my friend, that h$5 plunged 

and caprice youinto fuch ^n abyi^ of iorrpw and nouery ? IToii 
rfFwtune. ^^^^ undoubtedly beheld fomething lieiw ^fld ^- 

traordinaryt Ifyou think l^ortune has Qbanged her 
behaviour towards ypu, ypu are in a noift^^ 
Ttris is the ph^araftcr of the dpme i it is her very 
nature* With rcfpe^t Jt9 you, fhe ha$ preferved 
her iipnted coa(iftency, toeing coaftant in nothing 
Ipiyt Dfiutability : fvch £l;ie ^z^ when ihe carefl^d 
you^ wh^ /be dazzled your ^yes with falfe fi^^ws 
gf felicity. You hav^ fcen the doutjle face of thi^ 
IcJind ^ivipity ; and Ibe who veils herfclf froni 
f)thprs^ ha3 difplayed herfclf wholly to you. If 
yp;u approve her awnners, co^nform to them, and 
da not con^plain. If you abhor her perfidy, de- 
ipife it i and treat her with * difdain when fce is 
courting you with her dangerous flatterres, 
^y^iat Qccafipiis yo^r prefcnt melancholy, ought 
. to have been a caufe of tranquillity : the wanton 
Jias deferted you, of whofe contipuancc no perfoa 
is fccqr.e j and it is now in your power to enjoy 
a repofe that is altogether jnconipatible with her, 
C^n you then eftccm fo tranlient a felicity pre? 
cious? Jlsthe attendance of Fortune fo extremely 
d^V to yoy, whofp ft^^ is fo uncertain, and whofe 
jKippvcjtl is f(41owc^ with ftich a piercing grief? Jf 
It is neither in your power to detxtin hi;r, nor to 

^ol4 i>cr flight witbout ^f&^^}> ypv» onght to 


look upon the prefence of this wanderer^ in fio 
j>thcr view than as a prcfagc of fomc approaeh- 
ing calamity : for it is not fufiicient to confider 
only the prcfcnt. Wifdom weighs future events : 
and the mutability of Fortune, with regard to pro- 
fperous anti adverfe circumftances, is fucb, that we 
ought neither to be terrified by her threats, nor 
delighted with her blandifhments. In fine, when 
you have fubmitted your neck to her ydke^ you 
ought to bear with patience and equanimity what- 
ever fhe thinks proper to inflid. Is it not injuf* 
ticc in you, to prefcribe the time of (lay or re- 
moval to a miftrcfs, to whofe fovcreignty you 
have voluntarily fubmitted ? and by your impa^ 
tience, do you not embitter that lot which you can- 
not pofBbly change ? If you leave your veflel to 
the winds, you go not as you intend, but where 
. their impulfe drives you. If you cultivate a 
field, you compenfate years that are barren with 
thofc that arc fruitful. You have fubjedbcd your- 
felf to the dominion- of Fortune j it becomes you, 
then, as an humble fubjcft, to obey her laws. 
What ! would you ftop the rolling of her wheel ? 
Ah ! foolilh mortal ! do you not fee, that if Fortune ^ 
Were permanent fhe would iceafe to exiftj 

Inconftant as the winds or watery main. 

The cruel wanton * Qnfts the fcenes of fate i 

She blafts the glory of the conqueror's reign. 
And lifts the captive from his humble ftate* * 

D 4 Tb« 


The haughty dame with a malicious joy , 

t)eals woe around, and ne'er repents of ill ; 

Her C4irs ftill deaf to misery's piercing cry. 
To forrow's tears her eye unpitying ftill. 

Capricious thus (he fports, and boafts her poWer, 
Her higheft joy with happinefs to crown 

Her vot'rres blind, then fudden the next hour 
To deep defpair to hurl them headlong down. 

Philofophy But allow iTie to perfonatc Fortune for a few 

expoftu- * 

lateswith momehts, and to expoftulate with you in her 
inXname name; In the meiin while attend, ^nd you'll ac- 
ot Fortune, knowledge the juftice of thefe fecpoftulations. 
.—Why, my friend, do you thus daily accufe me, 
and pour forth fuch bitter complaints againft me ? 
What injiiry have I done you? Of what pofTef- 
fions that were really yours, have I deprived you ? 
Contend with me before what judge you pleafe, 
upon your title to poflefs wealth and honours; 
X and if you can prove that any perfon ever had a 
•fixed property in thefe things, I fliall rtioft willing- 
ly grant, what you fo earneftly defire to re- 
cover, did formerly belong to you. When na- 
ture brought you into the world, from the womb 
of your mother, I received you naked and in 
want of <;very thing; I cheriflied you, I fupported 
you ; and wh^t is now the caufe of your animofity 
againft me ? I educated you with too much fa- 
vour and indulgence ; I beftowed upon you afflu- 
ence, I furrounded you with fplcndor, ancj heaped 
* * upon 


apon you all my bleffings'. It is now my will to 
refume what I lent : be thankful then for the cn- 
joynnent you have had, of what was not yx)ur own. 
You have no caufe to connplain, fof you have loflf 
nothing to which you had a juft title. Why then 
do you mourn ? I have done you no wrong: richer, 
honours, and all other things of that nature, are 
fubjeft to me, and in my p<5wer : they acknow- 
ledge me as their miftrefsj with me they come; , 
and when I depart, they follow. Boldly may I 
venture to affirm, that if the things, the want 
whereof you fo feelingly lament^ had beea your 
own, you could by/ no means have loft them. 
Shall I alone be denied the liberty of cxercifing 
my, rights ? Doth not heaven gild the face of 
nature, with the brighteft days, and obfcure it 
with the moft gloomy nights ? Do not the feafons 
adorn the earth with a profufion of fruits and 
flowers, and in their progrcfs ravage and deform 
it by rains, and fnows, and tempefts PDoth not the 
fea now entice us with its placid and flattering 
afpeft, and anon terrify us with the rage of its 
vaft and tumultuous billows? And (hall I, Ihall I 
alone, to gratify the infatiable dcfires of men, 
preferve a conftancy oppofite to my character ? 
' Behold my powers ! obferve my perpetual amufe-p 
ment! I turn my rolling wheel with rapidity; 
iand [^eafe nyyfelf with exalting what was low, and 
with bringing down what was high. Mount up 
upon it then; but upon this conditionj that you 



do nbt complain> if I pull you down whenever my 
fportive humow fliall prompt me to doit. Are 
you ftill unacquainted with my frolickfome genius, 
and With the ftrange viciffitudes of which laih 
the caufe? Do you not know, that * Croefus 
king of Lydia* formerly fo rich, and fo formida- 
We tp Cyrus, was dragged' to the fyneral pile, and 
muft h^ve periftcd miferably in the flames, had 
he net been preferved by an abundant fhowcf 
frorii heaven ? Do you not remember that + Pau^ 
lus ^miliiw flied generous tears over the misfor* 
^ twines of king Per^ew, whom he had defeated and 

taken prifoner? And what elfe doth the weejJing mufe 
of Tragedy deplore^ but the flourifliing ftate of 

* droeTus king <$f Lydia^ to mnarkable for his richfls and profperity, 
aiked SdoB, thf famous A^enian pbilofopher and kgiflator, who 
vifittd htm at Sardis^ who was the happieft man ? Solon named fe- 
veral ; but Crcefus appearing furprized that he himfelf was not men- 
iMncd as one of thcfm^ Solon told him, no man could be faid to b^ 
hai)py before death : the truth of which CrcelAis afterwards e^cpori- 
^ eticed} for being defeated and taken prifoner by Cyrus, he was con-* 
demned to be burnt, and while Cyrus's attendants were placing him 
upon the funeral pile, he cried out^ Solon, Solqn, Solon ! Qrrus 
a&ed why he did (his : and when Crasfus infaniKd him of Solon^a 
faying, ftruck wkh the inutability ^Fortune, and inipired with fen*, 
timents of humanity. Gyrus took compaflion upon Crosfus, and or-r 
dered the |>ile to be extinguiihed ; which order could not have been 
e3ie$Mt9df unJefsa very plen^l (hower h^wl at that very time fallen 
frcyn the heavens« It is farther rela(t^, that Cynis pot oi^ly faved 
Croefus^s life, but treated him ever aitefw^rds yirith great humanity 
and vefpeA. 
' , . f The ii^skallty of Fcrtun* was exj^ieneed vfi|r jbittedjr by 
Paulus.^miliv$. Puring the rejoicings of his pompous triumpbs ovjpv 
king PerfeiiSj two of his (pns^ ycfj ac^ompUihed young noblemen^ 
ditd. * • 



kingdoms oyierBfbekied by the Uwiifcriipinatmg 
ftrokesof Fortune? Did yoq npt leAm whiMl a 
youtbi that at the gatns of Jupiter's palace ftand 
two large vcOfels, oae fiJl of Wd^r^s, the «hcr 
of woes. What if you have drunk too deep of 
the firft veflcl ? What if I have not totally for* 
faken you? Is there not in the njutabijity of my 
temper a juft foundation for your hoping a ixiorc 
profperous lot ? — For allthefe reafons^ you ought 
oot to (ink under afflidion. But, as you are placed 
in SL ib^ in con^mcui wkth mankindt you ft<Hild 
^t dc£re tp be exempted frona the lavs of Jiuqm^ 
nity> and^o live as you lift* 

Tho* Plenty, from her teeming hom^ 
Of wealth Ihould pour her copious ftores^ 

Profufe as dew-drops of the mom. 
Or fands upon the briny fhores ; 

His heaps ftill wanting to increafe, 
|l$lpac}ous, thanklefs man, complains; 
Nor can enjoy his foql in peace, 
' Till power and honours he obtainjs. 

Tho' Heay*n, indulgent to his prayV«, 
Tries. to content each fond defire, 

And every boon he afks coafi^rs^ 
flis daring wifhea ftill afpire. 

Nought can the impious wretch fufficc ; 

fie deems his envied fortune poor, 

Nbr ceafes yet to vex the fkies> 

|f\3t thiri^s and lyildly gape; ht ipore* 

■ What 


What reins can man's defircs controul ? 
His' furious av'rice what reftrain ? 

To cool the fever of his foul 
Heav'n's boundlefs bounty flows in vain. 

Unhappy, tho' with plenty blcft, 
The wretch diftrafted with vain fears 

Of fancied want ; — this cruel pefl: > 

His bofom like a vulture tears, 

' » 

' If Fortupe ftiould interrogate you in this man- 
ner, you would certainly havrc nothing to anfwer. 
But if you have any thing to oflfer in defenqc of 
your complaints, fpeakouti you have full libefty. 
—What you have been faying, replied I, is indeed 
very fpecious, and is adorned with all the fvveet 
and captivating charms of Rhetorick and Mufic ; 
but alas! fuch difcourfes affeft no longer than 
they flrike the ear ; they canpoc reach the heart, 
and efface the deep imprefljons that mifcry there 
has made. For in that moment when your de- 
lightful words Ihall ceafe to found in my ears, my 
deep-*rooted melancholy will recur, andafBiiftmc 
as much as it did formerly. — I believe fo, faid 
Ihe 5 for the aj-guments J have been ufing, are not 
defigned as remedies, but ^as lenitives only, to 
• allay in fomc meafure that obftinatc grief which 
rcfufes to be cured; but when I judge it prpper, 
I (hall adminifter medicines more cflfedual, which 
will reach tp the feat of your diftempcr^ 



In the mean while, that you may not confider Philofophy 
yourfclfthe moftmiferable of men, tell me, have thhTs^^r 
you forgotten your former incomparable felicity ? ^*/^.*;<>' 
1 Ihall not fpcak of your happinels, when de- but jSoflcfr. 
prived of your parents, in falling under the care fcikity."^ 
of the chief and moft refpetSlable men of the city ; 
nor of your engaging the afFeftions and efteem of 
thofe worthy perfonagesj nor of your bein^ 

afterwards honoured with their affinity ; though 
there were none who did not then confider you 
the happieft 6f men, bleft as you were with the 
fplcndid alliance of fuch fathers-in-law, with fuch 
an amiable and virtuous confort, and with fons of 
the moft diftinguifhed merit *. I ihall forbear alfo 
to mention (for to whatpurpofc is it tofpeak of 
things that ordinarily happen ?) thofe honourable 
employments which were denied to age, and con- ' 
ferred updn you in your youths for I am impa- 
tient to recall to your remembrance that fingular 
event, which exalted, you to thcheight of human 
felicity, to the very fummit of blifs, if there is 
fuch a thing as blifs below. Is there any fuccef- 
iion of calamities capable of obliterating the me- 
mory of that daji when ybu faw your two fons, in- ' ' 
vefted with the dignity of confuls, iflue from your 

. * Boethius^s fathers-in-law were Feftus and ^ymmachu«. Rufti«: 
ciana, his fecood wife, the daughter of Symmachos* was the peribn 
here mentioned. And Patritius and Hypatius, his ferns by his faik 
wife Dlpis, who were conCuts about the year 500, are the fonk here 
^kea^f* ::,.;. I 

* : . own*. 




own houfe in a chariot, attended by a venerable 
body of fcnators, and followed with the acclama- 
tions of a numerous populace? of that day^ 
when you beheld tkem feated on high in their 
curule chairs in the fenate-houfe, where you dif- 
played your genius in delivering a fhir panegy- 
rick upon the king *, 'and dcferVed the crown of 
eloquence? of that day^ when, to crown the 
glories of it, you placed yourfelf in the circus be* 
twixt your conful-fons f, and difpenfed to a 
crowded and joyful affembly of the people, a 
triutriplval largefs, equal to their moft enlarged 
expeftations ? Then it was, while Fortune was 
careffing and fondling you as her darling, you, 
in my opinion, fairly ov^-reached and got the 
better of her, by wrefting from her a felicity 
which never before fell to the Ihare of any private 
perfon. Have you the affurance then to call 
Fortune to an account? She now begins, I own, 
to throw an \inkind eye upon you \ bitf if you im- 

* King Tbeodorick was tlien in Rome; and, 4% it \% related in ibt ' 
life of BoctfaiiiSy anfwered this (perch in the moft obliging terms, and 
promifed never to encroach upon any of the privileges of the (enate* 

f The king alfo repaired to the circus, and made a fpeech to the 
people, vtfherein he esiprefled his fincere deitre of their wetfire and 
profperi^, confirmed the privileges they had enjoyed under the em* 
|«rarthiapredece(fors9 aMdaiTuredthomof bisproic^Koti. Boeihivs, 
it is faid, diijpenled ta^ people, upon this occafioii^ • triumphal 
largefs, i. §, fuch a liberal largefs as was given upon dajrt of triumph* 
£The largefs w» agift in corn and mtmcy, i^ mu^ taevtty: ipa»»} 
It is alio related, that Theodorick bellowed at this time a very libe« 
rat dnative upon the people* 

^ partially 


partially weigh your comforts and afili£tionSj you 
cannot deny but you are ftill happy. If you 
think yourfclf mifcf able, becaufe the bleflings you 
formerly enjoyed have taken their flight, you 
ought to confider, that the evils you fuficr are 
alfo tranGtory and upoji the wing. Are you ftill 
fo inexperienced, and like a ftranger newly intro- 
duced upon the theatre of the world ? Can you 
fuppofe that there is any ftability in hyman af- 
fairs, when the life of man is expofed to diflblu- 
tion every hour ? Though the conftancy of For- 
tune is not to be [relied upon, yet, if it wercj the 
laft day of life puts a period to all fublunary en- 
joyments. What then is the mighty matter whe- 
ther you die away from them, or tliey fty imay 
from you ? 


♦ When Phoebus breaks thro' dawning day. 
In all his glories bright. 
The ftars diminifhM die away 
Before his gaming light. 


When gentle Zephyr paints the green. 

And rofes deck the glade ; 
An eaftern blaft deforms the fcene^ 

And all its glories fade* 

• This metnim wu tnnflated, «t my defite» by the (ame mgtBioiM 
ffiend who fiirmlhed me with a nriioA of metrum s. Book I. It 
U very £aelx executed. 



Now calmly fmooth, a Ihining plain 

Old Ocean's furface lies, 
Kow bluftering ftornis aflault the main. 

And raging billows rife. 

If Nature change each circling hour, 
^ If nought can fix'd abide. 
Go, — fondly truft in tottering pow'r ! 
In winged wealth confide ! 

In this confide, this maxim know 

Thro' Nature's various range, 
That all things alter here below, 
' And nothing's fure but change! 

d) parent of every virtue! replied I, you re- 
call to my memory nothing but what is true, nor 
can I deny but that the gales of profperity blew 
early upon me. But this is the very thing that 
confumesme with vexation j for, in every reverfe 
of fortune, it is the remembrance of former hap- 
piilefs, that gives the m'oft diftreffing wourtd. 
— But as your prefent fufferings, faid ihe, arife 
wholly from your falfe opinion of things, they 
ought not to be imputed to the evil ftate ot your 
affairs. For if the empty name of a flu(5luating 
happinefs ftill captivates you ; do but recoHed 
what a large portion of the gifts of For|:un^ is 
ftill yours. / It I can make it appear, that what 
you cfteemed as moft precious in your happy days, 
is ftill, by the particular indulgence of i^eayen, 
jprefervcd inviolable j how can you, enjoying fuch 




iiieftimable blcflings,' complain with juftice of 
the injuries of Fortune ? * Symmachus, your 
father-in-law, that ornament of human nature, 
whofe welfare you would purchafe at the expencc 
of life, is fafe and in health ; and that incom. 
parable matn, whom Wifdom and Virtue call their 
own, is fo much mpved with your misfortunes, 
that^ he is regardlefs of himfelf, and the dangers 
that furround him. Your fpoufe is alfo alive f^ 
a woman equally amiable for the fweetnefs of her 
difpofitipns and the purity of her manners, and, 
to fay all in a word, a t;'ue refemblance of her 
father j ihe, I Would have you to remember, ftill 
lives; but whlat even I muft allow is an allay to 
your happinefs, her feparation from you diffolves 
her in tears, and confumes her with grief, info- 
much, that fhe is weary of life, and prefervcs it 


* Quintus Aurelias Syfnmachus was prefeft of Rome and con(ul 
In the year 522^ having his fon-in-law Boethius, who had been 
twice conful before, for his colleague; Symmachus was the firft man 
in the fenate for probity, knowledge, experience, and wifdom. He 
was at liberty, when Boethius wrote the Conlblation of Philofbphy in 
prifon, but he was foon aftersoirds imprifoned at Ravenna, along with ^ 

pope John I. The pope was thrown into a low dungeon, and famifhed 
to death. Symmachyis had the fate of his fon-in-law ; he was be- 
headed in the year 526. See Life of Boethius, {f* t3> 26* 

f Ru(ticiana, daughter of Symmachus. This lady furvived her 
father and husband a long time. She was alive when Totiia, king of 
the Goths, took Rome in the year 54.1, and gave the pillage of it to hit 
foldiert. The Goths left the inhabitants nothing. Hiilorians relate^ 
that the principal ladies of that famous city, and among others, the 
widow of Boethius, were obliged to beg their bread at the doors of the ' 

Barbarians. . • 

E ' only 


oiijy for your fakcj^ Why n?ed I mention your 
confolar fdns *, who i$%l3y in their youth the 
Hioft cmineijilj talents, and pronfiife to be in every 
Wpe6k woifuhy of their fire and grandfire ?^The 
principal c^re of naan is to prefcrve his lif^ -^ and 
if you' but know your felicity, you are flrift haj^y^ 
in the pofleflion of bkffings which all men eftcem 
dearer than life. Wipe away tiherefore y<ouT tears. 
Fortune has not wreaked all her malice ;againft 
you; the tempeft you havefuffercd is inconfider- 
^ble, whilft your anchors hold firm, which af- 
/ford both prcfent confolation and future Hope.*— It? 
IhaM be my conftant prayer, replied I, that thefc< 
anchors may never fail me ; forfo long asf they re- 
main^ however things go, I ihall efcape fhipwreck. 
But do you not perceive thac I am divefted of rtiy 
honorH-s, and plunged in difgrace ? — I ftiould have 
imagined, faid my kind inftruftrefs, that I had 
tnade fome progrefs in your cure, if V did not 
fee you repining^at yoyr fate f but it grieves me 
no behold you in poffcflion of fuch comforts, and^ 
to hear you lament fo bitterly- that foirr^thing is 
wanting to your felicity i for is there ^njx jiaortaj 
fo completely happy, that he has not cauft, in 

• Thefe were his fons Symmachus and Boethius, by Rufticiaha* 
The appellation Conlular was given to them, rot that they were 
^onAils thcmfelves. But that they were defcerided from a father wlia 
•^ l>ras conful. Some writers imagine that thefe young noblemen were 

confuls in the year fai, and upon that account are here called con- 
iulafs : biii this is a miftake ^ for their father and grandfather were, a» 
H before related^ confuls for that year» 



feme t^pc(Jt, to comj)lain of his condition? The 
enjoyments of life have this uncafinefs ever ac- 
c6nfipartying them, that they neither equat our 
defires, nor is our poffcffion of them fecure. One 
man h^ riches in^ abundance, but l;iis birth is 
• obfcute : aiiorfier is tonfpicuous for the nbbilitj^ 
of his defcent, but ais he is furrounded with indi- 
gcncc, he wifhes' to be unknown : a third is bleft 
with both advantages, but laments his living un- 
married : this man again is happy in a wife, but 
bewails the lofs erf" children, and the ncceflity hi 
is under of leaving his fortune to diftant heirs : 
whilft that other man rejoices that hfe is the pa"- 
rcnt of a numerous family, but . is foon over- 
y^helmed' with Ihame, upon account of their i>rcr- 
fligate behaviour. Heoce it i^, that there is 
fcarce aiiy man who is completely^ faiisfied with 
hiscoiiditionj for in every fituation of life there 
isfbmethingdifguflring, whichapcrfon does not 
feel till he has had experience of it, but whidi he 
foon difcovers upon a trial. Add to this, thact a 
man flowing in profperity has a moft delicate fen- 
fibility * ; and that, unlefs at! things fuccced to 

El his 

• pVofperity, fays Do6lor Blair^ in his very aaurate and elegant 
fermonS} vol. I. p. 186, debilitates inftead of ftrengthening the mind- 
Its moft common eiFe^l is, to create an extreme fetifibility to the 
(lighteft wound. It foments impatient d^fires^ and raifes expe6la- 
tions Which no fuccefs can fatisfy. It fofters a fatfe deHcacy^ which 
fickens in. the midft of indulgence. By repeated' gratification^ it 
l>lunts the feelings of men to what is pleafing/'land leaves them un« 
l^appily acute to whatever it uoeafy. Hence^ the gale which another 




hi^ wiiht as he is unacquainted with adverfit/^ 
he is overturned by the fmallcft rcvcrfe of fortune j 
the flighted accident being fufficient to damp 
his enjoy nfients, and involve him in, mifery. Do 
, not you perceive that numbers of the.human racq 

would think themfclvcs almofl: exalted to: heaven, 


were they but poflefled of a fmall portion of the 
wrecks of your fortune ? This place, which you 
call a banifliment, is to its inhabitants their be* 
loved country/ Nothing is the caufc of mifery^ 
but what is confidered asfuch; and every lot is 
happy to a perfon who bears it with tranquillity. 
Who, I pray you, is fo blefti but, if he gfves reins 
to impatience, defires to change his condition ? 
With what bitter ingredients is human happinefs 
allayed ! for when it is fuch as men are delighted 
with, it cannot be retained, but takes its flight 
at pleafure. Hence therefore appears the un- 
coaifortablc nature of all worldly profperity; 
fince with regard to thofe that enjoy it with 
equanimity, it has no . permanency ; and with re- 
Ijpeft to a perfon of delicate feelings, ' it is kl ways 
defefiive and incompleat. Why, therefore, O 
mortals! do ye fearch abroad for happinefs? 
when it is only to be found at home in your 
own breafts. You are the dupes of error and of 
ignorance. I will (hew you in a few words in 

would firareely feel^ is to the profperous a rude temped. Hence, the 
fofe-leaf doubled below them on the couch, as is told of the efieminate 
Sybarite, breaks their reft. 



-what the chief happinefs corififts.-r-Is there any 
thing n^ore precious to you than yourfelf ? No- 
thing, you will fay. Aflume then the government 
of yourfelf, and you will poffefe what you can 
never lofe, and what Fortune cannot t^ke from 

But to be fully convinced that happinefs con- Hapinnert 
fifts not in things -which are in the power of For- confiftln 
tunc, attend to the following reafomng :^— ^If hap- p^y^^^ ®^ 
pinefs is the chief good of a rcafonable being, 
that cannot be his ehief good, which is in its na- 
ture fluftu^tjng, and of which he may be depriv- 
ed } for there is fome good more excellent than 
this tranfitory felicity, namely, what is permanent, 
and which caonqt be t^ken away : it is therefore 
evident, that Fortune, th^e moft variable thing in 
the world, cannot beftow the fovereign gopd upon 
mankind. Befide^, lyhojcver is Captivated with 
the favours of the capricious dame, either knows, 
or does not know her inconftaqcy. If he does 
not know it, what happinefs can a perfon enjoy, 
who is immerfed in the grofleft ignorance ? If he 
knows it> he muft be afraid of lofing her gifts, 
as he is fure they may be loft; and the fear of 
this will keep him in cpnftant terror, and bereaye 
him of repofe. But perhaps he may think the 
favours of Fortune defpicable, and if he fhould be 
deprived of them, unworthy of his concern: if 
this is the cafe, it muft be a very inconfiderable 
good, the lofs ^hereof can be fupported without 

E 3 regret^ 



regret. But jas I am farisficd that you are con- 
vinced of tlie foul's iaunortality, hy a nuniber of 
inconteftable proofs; ^d fmcc it is evident that 
the (elicity of the body ends with life *, it un- 
que^ionably follows, that when njen l^ife thi^ 
felicity, they muft be plunged in mifery. Never- 
thelefe, ^ we k^aw that jpany of the hurpan race 
havcfqught the enjpymcot of happinefs, not pnly 
, by death,, but by fuflfcrin^ and torment ; fepw 
can this prefent Ijfe make men happy, finc^, when 
fin}i|>ed, it does not make them miferabk*? 

Would you a manfion firm and furc 
Prepare, where you may rtft fecure. 
Scorning each blaft that idly raves, 
Defpifing Neptune's fwellirig waves ; 
Build not upon the mountain-s brow, 
Tho* every profpeft charms below ; 
Nor, plcas'd to hear old Ocean roar, * 
Fix not too near the fandy Ihore. — 
On high,— your airy fabrick plac'd. 
By every rattling ftorm's defac'd ; 
And if you found on treacherous fand. 
Your fuperftrufture ftiall not ftand. 

Convenience to delight prefer ; 
In fearch of pleafure oft we err. 
Go-— then in fome calm vale's retreat. 
Firm on a rock ered your feat ^ 

• If the happinefs of man cop^fts o«>ly {n tl^e felicity of tlje; bpdy, 
Ad a pcriod-is put to thi3 felicity by death i maij, if he continues 
afterward* to exift, TOy a neceffarfiy be mifcrable, 



Th' impetuous winds,that vex the mam^ 
' • And ravage hills,«^--your flielter'd fcene 
Annoy natf— there, c^npos'd to cafe. 
Content becalms your happy days, 
Whik all the noife the tempefta keep. 
Serves but to footh your balmy fleep. 

But afi I perceive, continued fce^ that the le- 
nitive and palliatiog reafonings I have employed, 
haye begun to infinuate thepnfelv^s into youf 
heart, I think you are now prepared to receive com- 
^ fort from arguqients more powerful and efFeftual j 
let me therefore beg your attention : — Were the 
gifts of Fortune not e^en fo fading and momentary 
as they arc, what is there in them, I pray you, to 
conftitutc your happinefs ? Do they contain any 
thing, when clofely c^tansfined, but what ought w 
render them defpicabk in yoi?r fight ? Are nches Htppincri 
precious in themfelvfes, or only in the eftimation found ^ 
of men ? Whif:h is moft precious ia them ? (the ^^^^* 
quantity or the quality ? But does not a nian re- 
quire noorc luftre'by fpending than t>y 'hoarding 
them? as avarice k always odious, and liberality 
praife-worthy : and if that which is transferred 
to another, cannot remain in our hands, then' 
certatnly money never can be piftgcidus and cftima-» 
ble, but when, by fpend iiig it, Wfc t#aiis^fer it td 
others, and it ceafes to be our». Hqt if all the 
money in the world «rcrc accumulated into the 
^offers of one math would not every one elfe be 

E 4 id 


in want of it ? The found o£ a voice, without fuf* 
fering any alteration, fills the ears of many at the 
fame timcj but this is not the cafq with riches, 
which cannot be difpcrfed among multitudes 
without being diminilhed, and rendering indi- 
genf thofe to whom it formerly belonged. O 
riches ! how limited and deficient is your boafted 
value ! You cannot be enjoyed by many at the 
fame time, npr can you be heaped up by one 
without impoverishing others. But fay, doth the 
fplendor of jewels dazzle your eyes ? If there is 
any thing valuable in their luftre, it is the pro- 
perty of the ftones themfelves, and not of their 
admirers : I am therefore greatly furprized that 
mankind are fo very much captivated with them. 
Fo^r what can there be in any thing deftitute of 
motion, life, ^nd reafon, that can juftly attraft 
the regard of creatures endowe^d with life and 
reafdn? Precious ftones are indeed t;he work^ 
mahfhip of the Creator^ and amid the variety of 
his works they are defervedly diftinguiihed for 
their beautyj but as their beauty is infinitely ^e- 
low the excellence of your natufe, they are by no 
means worthy of your fupreme admiration an^ 
defire. — Does not the profpedl of a fine country 
delight ypu I Why fhould it not ? for it is really 
a beautiful part of anioft beautiful whole. Hence 
we contemplate with pkafiire, a calm and /erene 
fea 5 hence we admire the heavens, the ftars, the 
fun . and the moon. — ^But have you any property 






I ' 

* I 


in thefe magnificent exiftenceS? Have you the 
prefumption to glprify yourfelf in their fplendor ? 
Do the vernal flowers adorn you with their 
variety ? or, doth your fruitfulnefs burft forth in 
the profufion of fummer fruits ? Why do you fuf- 
fer yourfelf to be hurried away by empty delu- 
sions ? Why do you place your happinefs in things 
external ? as Fortune can never make thofe enjoy- 
ments yours, where, in the nature of things^ 
you have no property.-— The fruits of the earth 
arc undoubtedly defigned for the fupport of ani- 
mals : but if you want only to fupply the mecefli- 
tiqs of nature, the affluence which Fortune bcftows 
will be ufelefsi for Nature contents herfelf with 
little, and if you heap upon her more than ihe 
demands, the fuperfluity will be both difagreeablc 
and hurtfuU-r- Again, do you imagine it adds any 
jhing to a maa's worth' to ihine in magnificent 
robes ? If there are in thefe any thing to be ad- 
mired, it is only the beauty of the ftuff, or the in- 
genuity of the workman. — rOnce more— Can you 
think it a happinefs to be followed by a numer- 
pus train of domeftics ? They are a fet ofxprofli- 
gates, they .are dangerous furniture in a houfe, and 
extrenniely hurtful to the matter : but if they are 
pfien of vBTorth, what title have^ you to reckon 
the probity of others a part of your riches ? 

Uppn the whole, then, it plainly appears, that 
none of the enjoyments which you. confidcred as 
your ownx did ever properly belong to you: but 





tf -th«fe is no iatrinfic worth in thcfe matters co 
render thetn dcfir&ble, why do you rejoice in the 
pQiTeffipri of thcrn, or afiKtft yiurfclf for tkeir 
lofs? If thejr derive a beauty from qatute, what 
relation has that to you ? For in that cafei from 
tbcir own beauty, they would be equally agree* 
abl^ V^bi5thcr they v^re yours or not. It is not, 
therefore, becaufe they are a part of your pro^ ^ 
perty, that, {hey are precioys ; it is only becaufe 
llwy appeared precious to you, that you defired t^ . 
nunobcr thenn among your poflfeflions. — - Why 
then are you fo clanK>rous in your demands upon 
Fortune ? You want, you fey, to drive away in* ^ 
digcncc by abundance) but -the very reverfc oi 
this happens, for great care and much affiftance 
is requifite to prefer ve a variety irf valuable goods: 
and it is a certain truth, that none b^e a greater 
number of wants than thofc who have the largeft 
pofleflions ; whilft, on the^ contrary, none are Icfs 
indigent than fuch as meafure their abiuKlance 
by the neceffities of nature, and not by the fuper- 
fluity of their dcfires. Is th^jre then no real hap- 
pine6 to be found within your breaft, whi^H yo^ 
may juftly call your own, that you ar€ obliged tQ . 
fearch for it in things foreign and exteirnal ? How 
ftrangely is the order of nature inverted, that a 
being, who from the faculty of reafon ^efemblea 
the Divinity, Ihould^ in bis oJwn eftimation, have 
no other worth . or excellence but what be derive^ 
from the ptoffcflian of ingnirpate objcxSts J-^Infe^ 






ri^^nim^ils ire contept with their .istnciawnnyents; 
you only, whom, iijt#lligencc ri^nderfi like to the 
peity, vainjy fwk to ^dorn your ^xalt«d nature 
with fhings thjftt grc ijafinitfily below you, aiot 
^ceivipg by fqch % hchaviopr, bow much you 
dilhonour your Creator. His wHl it was, that - 
mafikit^ fhould excei all terreifrial creatures; 
bi^t fo .grjeatly do ypudebafe.yjour. dignity, that 
ypu degrade yourfidves below the'raaft con- 
temptible of them ; for if the glittering vanities, 
reiekoncd precious by fipjcn^ are efteemed of more 
vaiue than the perfoas to whOfn they beloi^i. 
wh«n therefore you place your happinels upon 
fuchdcfpicable trifles, do you not thereby ac«. 
knowledge yourielf of If fs- worth than chefe. trifles? 
and well do you merit to b^ fo efteemed. Such, I 
would have you to remember, is the nature of 
man, that he then only excels all other beings, 
when he knows himfelf j but when he Ceafes to do 
this, he finks below beafts: for ignorance of 
themfelves Is natural to brutes, but in men it 
fs unnatural and criminal. How great then, and 
how apparent is your mifliake, in' believing that 
any thing which is fo foreign to your nature, c^n 
be 4P ojAamcnt to it? I again aflyr^.yqu, tkfttthis , 
cannot be true ; for if a thing appears beauti&l ^ 
from its external iartificial emb^niflirnenti^, we 
admire aad conuncnd thofe e.mbidUihR)j?p?s4loR<;,, 
whilil we ftill bak up<^ the thing it^df as de^r 

a* formed 


formed or infignificant *. Moreover, I deny 

that to be a good> which is hurtful to him that 

pofTefles it. Is not this true ? Undoubtedly, you 

will anfwer me. But Miches are often hurtful to 

thofe who have acquired them ; for every wicked 

man is defirous of another's wealth, and thinks 

that he alone otight to engrofs all the gold and 

jewels in the world. You, therefore, who fo 

much dread the inflruments of aiTaiUnation, if 

you had entered upon the ftage of life, as a poor 

way-faring man, you might have carelefly pur- 

ijjcd your journey, and boldly fung in the face of 

robbers. Juftly therefore may I exclaim, O the 

'^ tranfcendcnt felicity of riches! No fooner have 

; you acquired them, but you ceafe to be fccure^ 

[ wd bid farewel tp tranquillity ! 

Thrice happy they in d^ys of old 
Who liv*d— it was an age of gold ; 
Content, with what the bpuntepus foil 
Beftow'd abundant, f^ithput toil. 
Ere baneful luxury began 
To mix the poifon'd cup of tn^n^ 

• As when you fee a viper, or an afp, or a fcorpion, in an ivory 
or gold box, you do not love it, or think it happy, on account of the 
magnificence of the materials in wbj^h it is enclpfed y but fhun and 
deteft it, becaufe it is of a pernicious nati^ : f^ lijcewjfe, ^hen you 
fee vice lodged in the midft of wealth, and the fwelling pride of for- 
tune, be not ftruck with the fplendor of the materials with which it 
13 furrounded, but defpife the bafe alloy of its manners. 

Epiftetui, Fragment x;. Mil. Carter's tranflation. 



Rlpc frOits and herbs his wholefome food 

Supplied,— -nor thirfted he for blood i— 

On hills fecurely fed the flocks. 

Safe in the paftures graz'd the ox.— 

The painful bee's ambrofial dew, 

That healthful precious balm he knew : ' 

But knew not, from the juicy vine. 

To draw the dangerous charms of wine. 

To Aine in fplcndid drcfs admir*d,^ 

He, unambitious, ne'er afpir'd ; 

The Tyrian dyes were unreveal'd. 

The diamond's luftre lay conceard. 

Serenely pleafant pafs'd his days. 

His wants were few,— and fcrv'd with eafc : ^ 

The flow'ry lawn — his fragrant bed. 

The zeyhyrs bland— his flumbers fed. 

The purling ftream's tranflucent 'wave 

Delightful beverage to him gave ; 

The Ihadowy pine a cool retreat 

Afforded, from the noon-tide heat. 

Fir*d with infatiatc thirft of gain. 
No bold adventurers plow'd the main. 
And madly tempted untried ihores. 
By commerce to encreafc their ftores. 

The martial trumpet's loud alarms / 

Rous'd not thefe fons of peace to arms -, 

Unikiird in war's deteftcd trade. 

In purple gore the Ihining blade 

They dyed not, nor the thirfty plain 

Strow'd with the wounded and the fl^in. 






For what cm(d ffirhiirate tfieir rage^ 
In impidus bUttlfes to eil;^ge, 
When deatfi,- or* riianf a gapihg wound'. 
Was dt die Weed that valbuf croWn'd ? 

O could we fee thofe golden* tinaesj 
So-" guiklef9> foavdfe from crimes. 
Return, arid blefs thfc earth again ! — • 
But that fond Wifhi al'as, how vain ! 

Man'i tftirft of Wealth what can afluage ? 
Not Etna's fires mwe fiercely rage. — 
Curs'd be the wretfch Who opM the mine. 
And gave theflaming^^gold tofhine -, 
Th' unnumbered ills dtat vex the earth, 
• TFo that difcr mifchicf oWe their birth. 

not to be 
found in 



why ftiould I' difcouf ftof poiver and of honours, 
which, though you are ignorant of true honour 
and of real power, you extol to riie (kies? When 
thefe favours of Fortune fall to tHe fhare of an 
abandoned profligate, what flaming, eruptions of 
Etna, what impetuous deluge did ever produce 
greater csrlamities ? No doubt you HaVe heard 
that your anc^fterls formed a defign to abolifh the 
conful^r government (iha' with the confulflbip 
their liberty c(AT)m'eilccd)y ori account of the 
infolence of thefe magiftrafes; as they fbrrtierly 
fupprefled the title and office of king, becaufe of 
the tyranny of thdr monarcbsl But if fOf¥ietimes, 
though feldota, it happeti5stharho'!tOtJl"s are con- 
ferred Ojffca men of worth; is there anything 
"- cftimable 



- OF FHIL050PHY. $S '^ 

cftirtiahle in them, but the probity <^tke petfons 
invcfljed with them ? Hence it is, that virtue \% 
not.cmbeUiflied by dignities,, bat on* the ccHitraryj 
digriitifes' derive aJl, their luftre from virtue, Bbt 
in what refpcfts, I pray you, is pOwer fo excellent 
and fo dcfirabk ? Do but confid^fi*, O ye Weak and 
defpicable animals ! what chefai^e, over whotti ydu 
appear to exercrib authority, and vvdiai; you! ^re^ 
who thus feem to govern ? If you ohrfea^ed a moufo 
afFuming command over her equals, would noc 
you be ready to burft with kughter ?' But what i^ 
thqre in nature fo weak as the human fVameJ^ 
The bite of an infeft, the mod inconfidefable 
reptile inSnuating itfclf into the human poresy 
may be the caufe of death. But how can any maw 
obtain dominion over . another, unlefs it be oveo 
his body, or what is inferior to his body^ I meanr/ . 
his pbfreflioils I Gart you ever comnjaiid a frec-f 
born foul ? Can you ever difturb the.tranquiUtifjpN 
of a mind coUefted in itfelf, and refolutely ex- f 
erting its powers ? An imperious prinfce imagnr- 
ing he might, by tortures, extort a' confeffion of 
his accomplices in a confpiracy^ from.a perfoil of 
determined fpirit *, the undaunted. man bit off htsf 
tongu.e, and fpit it in the face of his enraged enemy ^ ■ 
thus did he at once difappoint tlte views of the 
tyrant, and render the cruelties prepared for him, ^ 

• The pcrfoti here fpoken of was pi bbably 2Jeno, inventor of !<)• 
gick, mentioned in a former note 5 and the tyrant alluded to, ffearchirt v 
ofBlea, againftwhoniZeno had formed a confpiracy* 



nnatteroftriumphtohisown heroic virtue. BefideSj 
what is it that one man can do to another, which 
may not be retaliated upon the aggreflbr? 
* Bufiris, who we are told was Ayont to kill his 
guefts, was himfelf flaughtcred by Hercules his 
gucft. Regulus t put in chains many prifoners 
of war, whom he took from the Carthaginians j 
but he was foon after obliged to fubmit to the 
V chains of his viftorious enemies. Is the power 
then of^that man, do you think, of any importance, 
who darp not inflift what he intends uJ)on ano- 
ther^ left his intended feverities may be requited 
upon himfelf? Befides, I would have you to- 
refleft, that if there were any thing really and 
intrinfically good in power and honours, they 
could never devolve upon the wicked ; for an 
union of things that are oppofite, is repugnant to 
nature. But as we frequently fee the worft men 
obtaining the higheft honours; it is evident that 
honours are not in themfelves good, othcrwife 
they would not fall to the fhare of the unworthy. 
,The fame holds true, with regard to all the gifts 
of Fortune, which are commonly (howered down 
in profufion uppn the leaft deferving. We ought 
here alfo to confider, that as none doubts of the 

* BufiriS} king of Egypt* a cruel tyrant, it faid to have been the 
fon of Neptune and of Lybia. He ufed to facriiice Grangers to Jupiter; 
but whilft he was preparing to put Herculet to death in this manner, 
Hercules overcame hirn^ and iaaificed both him and his fon to Jupiter 
upon the fame altar. 

f The hiftory of Regulus, the famous ftoman conful, is univerfally 





ftrength of a man, who has given ifi (lances of his 
ftrerigth, nor of his fwiftnefs who runs well 5 in 
like* manner it is admitted that the, knowledge of 
mufic makes a mufician, of mqdicine a phyfician, 
and of rhetorick a rhetorician. For the nature 
of a thing confifts in doing what is peculiar to it- 
felf, in not mixing its cfFcfts with things of oppo* 
fite qualities, and in voluntarily repelling what 
is repugnant or hurtful to it. Now, we never fee 
riches- fa tisfy the reftlefs cravings of avarice, nor 
power render matter of himfelf the man whole 
opprobrious vices keep him bound in indiflblublc 
chains; neither do we perceive that when honours 
are conferred on the unworthy, they are thereby 
rendered men of worth : on the contrary, digrtities 
ferve only to betray them, and to cxpofe their 
want of merit. But for whit.reafon does all this 
happen? 'Tisbecaufeyou take a pleafure in giving 
, falfe names to things j names contrary to their 
'.natures, and inconfiftent with their effects: thus 
you dignify riches, power, and honours with 
names they have no title to. In fine, we niay fay 
the fame of all the favours of Fortune : we may 
truly conclude, that (he has nothing to beftow 
that is really defirable, nothing that is naturally 
goodi that (he is not infeparably attached tomert 
of merit, and that (he does not render virtuous 
jhofe to whom (he adheres. 




Nero, that dreaded monfter'si crimes 
Shall live abhorr'd tUl tateft times; 
Who, when he burn'd imperial Rome, 
In fportive drains bewaiPd her doom : 
Who madly rioted inr blood 
Of cohfcript fathers wife and good i ' 
And fmote with unrelenting rage 
* His brother, darling of the age. 
Dreadful to tell,— but ah too true f 
His impious hands his mother flew; 
Pale at his feet, the favage bear 
Her corfe beheld without a tear; 
Her poliihed frame he curious fpied^ « 
And every fine proportion eyed ; 
And faid with a difdainful air, ' 
He never thought her half fo fair* 

Yet with unlimited command 
This pacricidc ruled every land. 
Which Sol, refplendent God of day. 
Rejoices with enlivening ray. 
Bright ifluing from the purple eaflr. 
Serene defcending in the well : 
The frozen regions of the pole 
Were bended too, to his control : 
Beneath the line the fwarthy train 
Bewaird the horrors of his reign. 

* Boethlut means Bntannicus. Nero was Brltanniois^s brother only 
by adoption. The tyrant was the (on of Domitian and Agrippinay 
and was adopted by Claudius after he married Agrippina* Brltannicns 
was the Ton of Claudius by Meflalina. Nero put Briuuuiicus to death 
by foifon when he was (ixteen years of age* 



But wba5 did this »?ent o£ power 3 
Did it Jt>«ftow on^: craiiquii bctvc ? 
Taih*d k ferocious Ncro'^ owud? 
Or taught — the moofter to bt kind ? 

H^plefe tkeif fete,— doon^'d to obey 
A fierce defpotick tyrant's Away ^ 
Whofe pow'n unbounded arms his will 
To e3icc«tc hisfchemcs of ill.— 

I here intcrpo(ed, and faid, My dear miftrefs, Happineft 
you are thtaroughly fenfible that a, paffion for thofe found m 
fliiduatiqg things never had dominion over nne. f^^y ^^ 
X wifhed indeed for fome (hare in publick concerns 
to exercife my virtue, left it (hould grow feeble 
by inaftivity^ and die away uncelebrated. — I con- 
fefs, replied (he, that there is one thing which may . 
captivate fouls that are naturally great, but by 
a habitude of virtue, not arrived to the height of 
perfedipn, and that is, a love of glory, and the 
fame of performing illuftriewis fervices to their 
country. But cpnfider with mc in the foUowing 
detail, how limited this glory is ! how frivolous 
and how contemptible ! You have learned frocn 
aftfonomy, that this globe of earth is but a§ 4 
point, in refpeft to the vaft extent of the heaven? { 
that is, the immenfity of the cclcftiai fphere 15 
fuch, that ours, when compared with it, is a$ 
nothing, and vani(hes. You know lik^wifg 
from the proofs that Ptolemy adduces, there is , 
only one fourth part of this earth, which is of ' 

Fa ' irfclf'j 



itfclf ft) fmall a portion of the univerfe. Inhabited 
by creatures known to us. If from this fourth 
you dcduft the fpace occupied/ by the feas and 
lakes^ and the vaft fandy regions which extreme 
heat and want of water render uninhabitable, 
there remains but a very fmall proportion of the 
terreftrial fphere for the habitation of men. En- 
clofed then -and locked up as you arc, in an un^ 
perceiveable point of a point, do you think of 
nothing, but of blazing far and wide your name 
and reputation? "What can there be great or 
pompous in a glory circumfcribed in fo narrow 
a circuit? To this let me add, that even in this 
contrafted circuit, there is a great variety of 
nations differing from one another in their Ian- 
guages, manners and cuftoms, to whom, whether 
from the difficulty of travelling, or the diverfity 
of tongues, or the want of commerce, the fame 
not pnly of particular perfohs, but even of great 
cities, cannot extend. In Cicero's time, as he tells 
us fomewhere in his works, the renown of Rome 
herfelf, which fhe imagined was difFufed every 
where, did not reach beyond Mount Caucafus, 
though the republick was then in he glory, and 
had rendered herfelf formidable to the Parthians, 
and to all the nations in their neighbourhood. 
Do you not hence difcover, how ftrait and cir- 
cumfcribed that glory neceflarily is, which you 
take fuch mighty pains to propagate ? Shall the 
jpraifes of a Roman citizen, do you think, refound 


v-' ^ 


in countries, where the name even of Rome htr-? 
fclf was never heard fDo you not perceive that the 
manners and cuftoms of different nations widely; 
vary; infomuch, that what is thought to defcrve 
praife in one country, is in another deemed worthy 
of punifliment ? For this reafon, it is not the in- 
tcreft of a man who thirfts after glory, to propa- 
gate his reputation every where. ^ He ought to 
reft fatisfied with the renown which be h^ ac- 
quired among his countrymen, and Ihould not 
ftrive to difFufe this dazzling immortality of 
fame, fo flattering to his pride, any further. But 
of how many perfonages, jlluftrious in their times^ 
have the memorials been loft, for want or by the 
forgetfulnefs of writers*? But do writings pre- 
ferve the remembrance of men for ever ? Are not 

I • Thus Horace, Ode 9. Book 4. 
VJxere fortes ante Agamemnona 
Muki ; fed omnes illacrymabiles 

Urgentur, ignotique longa 

No£te carent quia vate facro* 

^ Paulum fepults diltat inertiiv 

Celata virtus* 

Before gre^t AgSmemnon reign*d, 

ReignM kings as great as he, and bravt, 1 

Whofe huge ambition*8 novtr contained 

In the fmal] compafs of a grave t 
In endlefs night they deep, unwept, gnknown \ 
No Bard had they to make all time their own. 

Xn earth if it forgotten lies. 
What is the valour %A the brave ? f 

AV])at difference, when the coward dies» 

And finks in iilence to his grave } F|t ANCi I* 

F 3 thfe 


the btft oomp'ofitions, tiling with the n^mes of 
their authors, obliterated by time, iand wrapt m 
obltvibn ? But you fuppofe, perhaps, you fhall 
fccircc to yourfelves immortality, if yoii can 
tratifmit^our names to future ages. But if you 
contemplate the unbounded ocean 6{ eternity, 
you will have no reafbn to rejoice in thrs fqppofi- 
tion. For if the lapfe of" an friftant is dompared 
with that of ten thoufafid years, as the extent of 
• both is definite, thei'e is a proportion betwixt 
them, though a very fmalt One ; but fllis fame 
hurhber of years, multiplied by whatever fum you 
Jileafe, vani flies. When compared with th6 iriftnke 
' cxtehj o^f eternal duration. For there can be no 
proportion betwiit irifiriite ind finite, though 
thtrc is always a relation, greater or lefs, betwixt 
finite and finite.^ -Hence it is, that if the longeft 
duration of renown in future ages is eftimated 
with an unlimited eterftity, there is^rrot ^even a 
fmall proportion betwixt them; there isabfolutely 
none.-*-But you, O deluded mortals 1 do good 
from no other view than to exalt your name anti 
to receive popular applaufe, Infenfible lo the 
pleafures refultrng from a good confcieiice and 
from the praftice df virtue, you feek no other re-s- 
ward but the infignificant praifes of a giddy multi-» 
tude.-^This filly vanity was once thus ^ree^ly 
' f allied : A folemin fellofw who bad affumcd the 

name of a Philofopher, not from the love of 
Tfiirtue, but of vain-glory, was attacked with the 



bettered reproaches by a man of humour^ and 
toldj that he had it now in his power to (how that 
he was truly the Philofopher he profefied hinnfelf 
to be, by bearing with patience the abufe heaped 
upon him. The conceited ib{^tft affuming calm* • 
nefs for a while, feemed to dkfpife all the infults 
with which he Was provoked. But at length hp 
burft forth, and exclaimed. You muft furely now 
confefs jthat I am a Philofopher! Not at all, re« 
plied the rallier (lily -, I might indeed have be- 
lieved yoy one, if you had. continued to hold yoi^r 

But after all, of what importance is it to illu(^ 
trious men, (for it is of fuch only that I fpeak^) 
of what importance is it, I fay, to them who 
pi^rfue glory by a courfe of meritorious anions, 
that their names refound with applaufe, after their 
bodies are refolved into duft ? For if men die en-^ 
tircly^ which our principles forbid us to believe \ 

' F4 glory 

• It muft be acknowledged that the moft antient and celebrated 
Among the GreekPhilofophers believed in the immortality of the fouli 
of Tihi<^ number were Thalet the founder of the Ionian k&, and 
his follower Anaxagoras $ the famous Pythagoras, the founder of the 
Italian fchool s Socrates, the wife&and moft virtuous of all the andent 
Philoibphers, and Plato hit diiciplty the fotnder of the Old Academy; 
We may here add, that ali the beathens, who believed in the ElyQna 
Fie^Sy and a Tartarut , muft have held the immortality of the foul* 
Epicurus, however, and many other celebrated Philofopbers of anti- 
quity, were not of this opinion j believing the (bul was material, and 
died with the body. With regard to the Stoidct, the^ fpeak very 
honourably of the foul of man, as a portion of the eflence of the Deity. 
And Wlsintim relates, that Zeno, the founder of the Stoick fe^^ 





glory is only an imaginary thing j as the perfon 
to .whom it was appropriated no more exifts.' 
But if, on the other hand, the foul is immorcal, 
the righteous fpirit, confcipus that fhe is nowat 
liberty, and difengaged. from her bounds of clay,- 
takes her flight to the upper regions, and looks 
down with coiitempt upon every objedt below; 
and happy in the enjoyments of heaven, rejoices 
^hat ihe is exempted from all fublunary con-». 
cerns. i , - 


Go thou, who fondly dream'ft that fame 

. Is fovereign good y — deluded man ! - 

Go, view heav'n's wide-extended frame. 
Compared with earth's contrafted fpan ; 
Beholding fame thus to a point confined,. 
Its fancied worth will ceafe to charm thy npind. 

With, titles grac'd, with Laurels crown'd. 

By every tongueapplauded, fay, 
/Will ^hefe enlarge life's dated round ? 
Will thefe refifllefs fate deky ? 
Relentlefs death' has no diftinftion made 
'Twixt high and low, the fceptre and the fpadc. 

f » ■ * 

fays, in the (hades below the habitations of the pious arc feparated from 
thofe of the wicked 5 the former dwelling in peaceful and delightful 
t regions, while the latter are fuflfering in dark and loathfonfie prifons, 

3ut after all, it mufi: be owned, as Mrs. Carter remarks, fhat there is 
nothing butconfyfion, and a melancholy uncertainty, to Be met with 
in tbe writings of the Stoick§ upon this fubjeft, 


I ■ 


Where's now Fabricius good and brave ? 
Where Brutus *, virtuous in. extreme ? 
Where Cato, who difdain'd a flave ? 

Have they not pafs'd the Stygian ftreami ? ' 
.Their memory lives, dear to the good and wife, 
Their awful forms no longer ftrike our eyes. 

Ye err, — who vainly truft your name [ 

Shall flourilh green, and never fede j 1 

Time's withering hand (hall blafl: your fame^ 
And wrap it in oblivion's (hade: ^ 

Your mortal frame, and priz*d memorial too, 
(Viftorious twice,) fhall conqu*ring Death fubdue* 

But do not however believe, continued (he, . Advcrfc 

' Fortune 

that I am an implacable enemy to Fortune, an4 > often pro* 
delight to wage perpetual war with her, I grants ** 
you, that this inconllant dame fometimesdeferves, 
well of mankind ; I mean when (He difcoyers her-* 
fclf to thcmi when (he unveils her countenance 
and difplays her manners, Perhaps you do not, 
ijnderftand me. What I want to teach you is in^ 
deed fo furpri(ing, that I am at a lofs to find 
words to exprefs myfelf. Ifay that adverfe For- 
tune, is in reality niore beneficial to mankind thaa 
profperous Fortune. The latter, while fhe fondly, 
throws forth her carefTes, and would fain perfuadc 
us that happinefs i:dtdes only with her, is quite 
the reverfe of what (he appears : the former appears 
what (he really is, difplaying by her viciffitude^ 




her natural inconfUncj. The one deceives ; the 
other inftru As. This, by a fallacious ihew of 
goody deludes and enflaves the mind; that^ by 
difeovering the fluduating nature of human hap- 
pinefs> barges and refbones it to its native free- 
dom. The one we 4)ehold blown up with vanity, 
light, wavqffing, undiAaipableofrefteftion; wbilft 
the d,(p^&: of the ot^cr is humble, patient, and 
w\ie with her CKperieoce in the fchool of afflidIon» 
In fine, profperaus ^Fortune by her blandHhments 
lea4s men aftray fvoxq the txue good s but on the 
Qlher hand> advorfe Fortune by her rigour$ 
teaches them wherein real happinefs confifts, atnd 
^condufts them toit* Let me now aflc you this 
one qttfftion : Is it an inconfidcraWc fervice that 
t^ts latter- h^s done you, vexatiotw and odious 
ais you think her, in putting the fiddity of your 
friends to a trial ? She 4ias feparated the true 
from the felfe: -by her departure (he has carried 
off hers, and left ybtirs. At what price would not 
you have purchafed fuch a fervice, when you 
were ^t the height of -your imaginary felicity I 
Forbear then to deplore the wealth you have loft, 
as you have found riches of infinitely greater 
yalut,—ymtr friends. 

Go,«»-<!»to*'the works of 'Nature range. 
Admire her in each various change. 
See elements that mutual jar, 
HeftrainM by CqflM^d ceafe (o war : 

9 . . ■' ' 





See Phcebm laitfhftil to the day, 
Purfue thro' hcaV'n his radiahrt way. 
And fetcing in the weftem main. 
Yield to the moon^ more ^ofber reign. 
Behold tht cmprds of the night 
Gladdening thenrarth with fofter light : 
The ftars fe6 gRt*«ing round her throne. 
By dewy i4tfpi*njs4€d 0n> 
Revolving each their feveral rounds. 
Nor trefpa(fing on others bounds. 

His proud tempeftuous billows chain'd^ 
See Ocean within bounds conftrain'd i . 
Not daring to invade the plain. 
Nor drown the labours of the fwain ! 

Thefe wonders all we owe to Love, 
Who rules below, and rules above : 
Tis henccj^, this beauteous order fprings 
Thro* all th' infinitude of things ; 
Piffolv'd this ftrong coercive chain, 
Confufion uncontrol*d would reign ^ 
Atoms, that mingle and unite 
In concord fweet, would jar and fight. 
And ruin by inteftine war 
This frame of things, fo wond*rous fair. 

Hail, Love benevolent ! the caufc 
Qf order, government and laws : 
By Love man*s favage heart was tanri*d» 
By Love Ibcieties were fram*d j 
Hence dates iri compad: firm were bounds 
An4 Uw dealt equal juitice round : 


V *• ^ 



Hence fprung th* endearing nuptial tie. 
Pure fountain of perpetual joy ; 
Hence Fricndihip*s gentler pleafures floisr, 
Beft^fource of blifs, beft balm of woe. 

Ah ! — did that pure celeftial Love 
That aftuates and rules above, 
Govern fgpreme the human breaft. 
Mortals would then be truly bleft I 


« y • < t 



r ~ f 




Pbilofo$hy Teaches, Boetbtus that all men are in 

fearcb of hafpinefsy or the Jovereign good, 

^bat fome falfely place it in tbe acquijition of 

ficbes Others in the obtaining of power and 

honours Others in the glory of great atcbieve-- 

^gfifs,—or in nobility of birth, — or in the plea^ 
fures of tbe body.-^ — Philofopby clearly demon^ 
firates that the Jovereign good is not to be found 

in any of thefe externals. &he afterwards ex^^ 

plains the true cbaraSierifiicks of this bappinefs. 
: «... — Shejhews that it rejides ift the Deity, who is 
tbe f over eign and tbe only good, — and that God go-- 
verns the univerfe by his goodne/s, as a helm or 

^ T) HI LO SO PHY now ended herfong; the 

JL harmony of which had fo charmed my 

ears, that for fome time I thought her ftill fpeak- 

ing, and remained attentive. But after a fhort 

• The angel ended, and in Adam's ear 

So charming left his voice, that he a while . 

Thought him ftill fpeaking, ftill ftood fixed to hear j 

Then, as new wak'd, thus gratefully replied. 

' Milt OK. 




paufc, I thus began : — O thou fovereign com- 
forter of dejefted minds ! what vigour haft thou 
: toftrfed mto me by the powcrfW- energy of thi 
difcourfc, and the melody of thy numbers ! fo 
that I now almoft think myfelf equal to For- 
tune^ and able to wichfta^d her blows. So far 
am I therefore from having an averfion to the 
powerful remedies you formerly mentioned, ' that 
I earneftly dcfxrc you will adminiftcr them*— 
When Ifaw you liftcn tome, replied fl>e^ with 
{q fixed an attention, I cxpcfted the difpofiuon 
pf your mind would be fuch as^ you fay it is: to 
Ijpcak the truth> I infpired you with this difpofi- 
tion. The confolations that I am now to apply 
' -arc of the nature of thofe medicines that arc bitter 
. in the mouth, but grateful and ftrengtheniag to 
the ftomach. But as you fay y,ou are moSc de- 
firous to hear them \ with what ardour would you 
be fired, if you knew where I am about to con- 
du6k you ! — Whither is that, I pray you ? — ^To that 
genuine Felicity, replied (he, of whofe features ' 
you have at prefent a very imperfect view, as if 
it were ,in a^ream; but whofe fupreme beauty 
and excellence, occupied as you are in the con- 
Ciimplation of deceitful phantoms, you cannot now 
perceive.-— I Entreat you then, without delay, faid 
I, to fhew me this true Felicity. — Induced by my 
regard to you, replied (he, I (hall comply moft 
willingly with your requeft; but I will firft give 
you a defcription of falfe Happinefs, with whom 



you are better acquainted t^i^ wltlh. the true; 
and after we have fiirveyed that deceitful dtoie, 
I {hall turn your eyes upon her opi>ofite> aitd 
charm you with a compile view of the tfue 
Felicity* . 

i Rich Ceres will reward the fwain 
With copious (lores of golden grain> 
Who labours with unwearied toil 
His fieldj and clears from weeds the fbil^ 

If the offended pal^c rues 
The flavour of fome bitter juice. 
The bee's fweet labour, — fweet before, 
Fleales and relifiies ftill more. 

When fho^Vy fouthern blafts abftain 
To cloud the flues ^and vex the main. 
The fl:ars fliine forth in luftre bright. 
And heav'n's wide concave charms the fight. 

When firft the fmiling eaftern dawn 
Has ftreak'd with rofy light the lawn. 
Then Phoebus mounts his chariot gay. 
And flaflies round refulgent day. 

Awake then, and attentive view 
The blifs fallacious men purfue ; • 

Their boafted idols, mark how vain !— • 
Diflfolving thus the fancied chain 
That captivates your free-born mind. 
The true, the fovereign ^ood you'll find. 




All men in . Then With a ferious air, and fcertiing to rc- 
htppinefs ' colleft hcffclf, and to roufe up every faculty of 
wligif** her mind, (he thus continued her difcourfe. — ^All 
t9o^* : the caresi all the defires of hiankind terminate in 
happinefs*, which, though they purfue by a variety 
^ of different roads, is ftill the ultimate end of their 
endeavours. But true happinefs is a good, which, 
after it is obtained, there is nothing more to be 
defired. It is indeed the fupreme good, a good 
th^ contains in it all others; to which if any 
thing were wanting, it could not be the blefling 
we fpeak ofj as there would be fomc thing befides 
itl^lf, Jome extraneous or foreign advantage flill 
to be wiftied. , Happinefs then is manifeftly thut 
ftate of perfection, wherein every good centers 
and is accumulated; and is the objeft, as we juft 
now obferved, which all the human race ftrivc 
to poffefs. For there is implanted in the hearts 
of all men a propenfity to the true good ; though 
error mifleads them, and engages them in the 
purfuit of joys that are falfc and delufive.— 
Some/ imagining that ^he fupreme good confifts 
in being fheltered from wants, exert all their in- 
duftry in heaping up a fuperabundance of wealth. 

* Epifletusy in Arrian^ fays this is the univerfal motive of a6Uon. 
** Apparent good (by which he mean« happinefs) at firft fight at* 
;**tra£U, and evil repels t nor vrill the foul any more rejeft aa 
** evident appearance of good, than C«far'$ coin. Hence depends 
'* e^rery movement both of God and man ; and hence good is preferred 
«« to every obligation, however dear,'* Mrs, Carter's Tranflation of 
Anrian, B. III. f. i. «• 




Others, fuppofmg that this good lies in attraft- 
ing attention and refpeiSt, are inceflant in their 
endeavours to acquire honourable employments!, 
that they niay appear venerable in the eyes of their 
fellow-citizens. There are fomci again, who place 
the fupreme good in fupreme power; and arc 
therefore inflamed with a defire either to rule them- 
felves, or to become the favourites of thofe wh6 
rule. Others there are, who efteem a wide refbund^- 
ing fame the height of happinefs ; and fpch elert all 
their efforts^ to render their names illuftrious, either 
by war, or by promoting the arts of peace, and the 
internal felicity of countries t whilft there are many 
who, as they eftimate things in proportion to the 
joy that redounds to them, believe no ftate more 
delightful than to fwim in the midft of pleafures* 
And there arc alfo thofe, who defire to obtain the 
poflcflion of jthingSi not fo much upon account of the 
things themfelves, as fromi other motives : for ex-» 
ample, they defire riches, to procure power and plea* 
furesj or they defire power, with a view to heap up 
wealth or to make their names fartious. In thefe 
c!afes, and in others of a like nature, in all that mail-* 
kind do, in all they wifli, they have a particulac 
end in view. Thus they feek to be ennobled *, and 


^ The Romans >^ere- ennobled by obtaining the great o&et of 
ftate \ thecooAilatey the prrtorate, the edile(hip> or qusftorfliip* Tht 
firft of a family who was honoured with any of thefe offices^ was called 
a new man» They preijprvtck IQ tbtir familiet the portrs^tt 9r bn^s of 

Q facK 


,to acquire the favour of the multitude, that they 
may be confidered as men of importance : thus 
^they wifh to have a wife and children^ becaufe 
'they promifc themfelves much comfort in a family. 
With regard to friendfliip *, we ought to confider 
it as having no place in this arrangement of, 
tilings : friendfliip is a gift from Heaven, a kind 

! x>fiacred felicity, and ought not to be nunrihered 
among the goods of Fortune, but amoi^ thofc of 

, Virtue. In the purfuit of every thing elfe, men 
have no view but to procure cither power or 
pleafure. As to the advanuges of the body, they 
fall under the fame predicament. Thus ftrengthi 
and a i)af ge ftature, feem to be attended .with 
powers beauty, and a fine ibape, d^ftinguifla^a man 
^r^eably ; and a firm cpnflitution qualifies hun 
for the ciyoyment of pleafures : for in all thefe 
faatters it appears, that h^ppinefs alone is what 
is fought after. Now wh^t a man wifhes for, in , 
preference to all other things, this he niufl: efleem 
the fupreme good ; which, as we have defined 
above, is happinefs : hence the happieft ftate 
is that, which is judged deflrable above . every 
other.— Here you have a view of thofe enjoy- 
ments, which miilaken mortals call Happinefs ^ 

Ibdi of their anceftors as enjoyed the above-mentioned offices, Henc« 
it was, that a man of a very illuibious defcent was faid to be <vir mul^ 

' ^ Wkh regarrd to friendihrp; "We ,<rb^ to coiifidar it s» m gift ftom' 
lleav^. ^ 4rnd of facred ^lidcy><tiot to he wjitjijimi WMng die 
foodt^^ Fortune, but MnrngtilMfe^ Vi:fft» 



wealth, hoijours, power, glQry, plcafufe. In tho 
Uft of thcife Epicurus placed felicity. He con-r 
ficjered plcafure alone as the chief goo^ f believ- 
ing that fhe.purfuit of every thing eife, inftcad of 
rejoicing the mind, tended to difcompofe rt. 

But let 4S return tp the inclination^ of rnfnkind. 
Tho* they forget in what the fupfepie gpod cpn* 
fills, yet the defirc of it remains ainextinguifhcd ii;i 
their hearts : and jhey may not improperly be com- 
pared to a man intoxicated with liquor, who ftriye* 
to regain his home, but cannot difcover the way 
that leads t^o it *• Do they wander, do you fupi- 
pofe, froo) the fupremc good, who endeavour to 
preferve themfejves from want ? No, by no meaUS; 
for furely there is no ftate happier than thaf 
which abounds in every thing, anc^ wherein a man 
is independent, and needs no afliftancc. ^ Or dp 
you think they are in a miftake, ij^ho believe no 
felicity greater than to attrad notice, and pro* 
curerefpeft? Certainly they are not ^ for that ca^ 
never be a contemptible acquifition^ which man- 
kind drive with fo much earneftnefs to obtain.. 
Again-^Is not power to be numbered among th^ 

P JJke drunken ibtf about the ftreiBts we roam i 
Well knows the fot he has a certain home. 
Yet knows not how to find th' uncertain place^ 
And blunders on, and ib^gers e?^ry pace. 
Thus all feek happinefs, but feW can find | 
For far the greater part of men are blind. 

Dryden^s PalapfUHi and Ardte, fifom Cha^c^, S* t* 

Is it not pisbable that Chayo^, vho tr,anil9t«dtb«X^nialjrttonof 
Philofophyi borrowed the above fimile from |k)ethius i 

G a goods 



goods that afc defirable ? Why not ? for how 
can that be reckoned an infignificant good, which 
invefts a man with authority and command, and 
Teems therefore to be of gre;^ater importance than 
any other advantage ? — And is fame to be con- 
sidered as of no value ? Quite the reverie ; 
for it cannot be denied, but' that every thing 
excellent is alfo fhining and renowned. To con- 
clude — I need fcarce obferve to you, that hap- 
'pinefs is not an unjoyous and melancholy ftate, 
difturbed with care and forrow ; becaufe, even in 
the purfuit of the fmalleft matters, men are de- 
^rous of nothing but what givei them pleafurc 
'and fatisfadion. — Behold, then, the acquifitions 
mankind ftrive to poflefs. Hence it is, that they 
We fo eager in the purfuit of honour, command, 
« glory, riches, and pleafures y as they believe, by 

obtaining the/ef they (hall fecure to themfelves 
independence, refpeft, power, fame, and delight. 
tJpon the whole, it is plain, however varied 
their inclinations, that happinefs is the fole 
purfuit of all the human race: and here the 
Wonderful force of nature appears; that, although 
men's opinions with regard to happinefs widely 
vary, they neverthelefs concur in purfuing //, as 
the end of all their adions and defires. 

ril tune my voice, my harp I'll ftri^g. 

And Nature's wondrous laws Til fing. 

That o'er the world's wide circuit reign, 

. And govern this difcordaht fccnet 

• The 


The lion, on the Lybian plain. 
Submits to wear a fervile chain i ~ ^ 

Devours in peace his ofFePd cheer. 
And dreads his keeper's lalh feverc : 
But, torn by ftripes, fhould the warm gore 
Stream his majeftick vifage o'er. 
His noble nature ftraight returns, 
"With all his native rage he burns. 
His awful roar alarms the plain. 
Furious he bounds and burfts his chain j 
Springs on his haplefs keeper firft,' 
And with his blood allays his thirft. 

The bird, who caroU'd forth his loves 
So fweetly in the fliady groves. 
When caught, and fed with choiccft fare. 
His matter's darling and his care. 
If haply from his cage he fpies 
The fcenes of all his former joys, 
HeTpurns his food, and fill'd with rage 
He fluttering bounds and beats the cage -, 
In moving notes his woe repeats. 
And pines for his bclov'd retreats. 

Form*(J to a curve, the fapling bends 
To the ftrong hand, and downward tends j 
Withdraw the hand's compelling force. 
It ftraight refumes its native courfe. 

The fun, whofc all-rejoicing light 
Sets in the weftern main at night. 
Thro' nether fkies his fecret way 
Purfues, returns, and brings the day. 

G 3 All 


All things, bbedicrtt to tht foiitct 
Of order, fill their deftinM courfe : 
Hence thro' the world's ftupendbus round 
Intire ftability is found; 
Which lafts till back, whence it aroie, 
Th' exhauftcd frame of nature flows *. 

O deluded mortals ! it muft be confeft, im- 
mcrfed as you are^ in terreftrial objefts, that 
you have nevcrthelcfs an indiftinA perception 
of your beginning j that you behold ^ (hadow 
of it, as through a dre^m; and that you have 
alfo aft obfcure and imperfcft idea of your 
true end, which is Felicity. Hence it is, that 
whilft a natural inftinft leads you tb the true 
good, a train of phantoms at the fame time de- 
ludes you, and draws you aftray from it.— Come, 
then, and confider with me, if it is poflible foj/ 
men to obtain the end they have in view, by the 
means they' ufually employ in the purfuit of 
happinefs. For if riches, honours, and other 
advantages of the like nature, crown mortals 
with felicity, and plaCe them in a ftate where 
nothrng-is wanted or defired — we muft acknow- 
ledge that happinefs may be procured by thefe 
acquifitions. But, on the other hand> if they cah- 
not make good what they promifc — if they cannot 

* Boethiut^s idea is, that no fytiem of things can be.tinder the dU 
rt&ion of order, but tbat^ which, after hiving ftiliilled its appointed 
courfe, compleats its round oi circle by fioMritig back, to its original. 

10 , , ftpply 



fupply every human want— they are |3ut dclufions, 
that impofe upon mankind with a counterfeit face 
of happinefs. 

Let me therefore afk you, who but lately T^*^®^*. 
abounded in riches, if, in^ the midft of your placed by 
opulence, you were never difcompofed with re*- acquifition 
ceiving an injury? — I muft confefs, anfwercd T, ofrkhci. 
that I cannot reraencibcr I ever was in fo tran^- 
quil a ftate, as to be totally free from difquie- 
tude^'-rAnd did not your anxicty> added 0iei 
arife cither from your wanting fomcthing which 
you defired to have, or your having fomething 
which you wiftied to be without ?— -That is cer- 
tainly true.-^Did not you therefore, faid (he, de*- 
fire the poflcflion of the one, and the privation o€ 
the other ? — I acknowledged I did. — But a nnah 
wants what he defires. — Undoubtedly he does.-*^ 
And if a man wants any thing, can that man 
be faid to be completelyN happy ? — No. — Wcrfc 
not you then in this ftate of infufEciency, whilft 
you were in the midft of your opulence? — Whac 
then ? — ^It follows, added (he, that riches cannot 
make a man fo rich as to want nothing: this, 
however, is what they feemed to promife. But, 
befides, I think we ought always to remember, 
that riches are by no means a fure and permanent 
good ; as a man may undoubtedly be ftripped of 
•his wealth by violence, however unwilling he is 
to part wit1i it. — He may fo. — How can it be 
otherwife, faid (he^ when you behold every day the 

G 4 ftronger 


ilrongcr depriving the weaker of his property ? 
For do. not all complaints to courts of juftice 
hence arife^ one party reclaiming the goods he has 
been difpoflcffcd 6f by the oppreffion and fraud 
of the other ? — Nothing is more true* — There 
is not any one perfon^ added ihe, that does not 
ftahd in need of the affiftance pf others, to pre- 
serve his riches. But he would not furely need 
this help, did be not poflefs what he is in danger 
pf lofing.-r-That is certain.--nrYou fee/ then, con-r 
tinued Ihe, the very reverfe of what was eKpefted 
from richer take^ place : fo far are they from bcr 
ipg fpfficiept to a man's wants, that they are the 
.caufe pf bis having more pf^icafion for the affiftr 
;jnce of others. But tell me, How is it that 
men's wants are fupplied by riches ? Is it becaufc 
the rich never feel hunger,, arc not liable to thirft^^ 
or that their bodies are infenfible to the winr 
:ter's cold ? But the wealthy, you'll fay, have fupr 
plies in abundance to anfwpr all neceflicies, to rcr 
lieve hunger and thirft, jind to repel cold*. In 
thefe ' matters, it muft be acknowledged that 
fishes aid and cpmfprt indigence, b]ut they can by 
no pieans fatl^fy eveuy w^nt. For as we know, 
with refpcft to ricjies, the defircs pf mankind 
are unbpunded, eyer gaping and clamouring for 
inore, in the niidft of the grcateft abundance : 

H • * 

\t of courfe follows, that there are cravings re- 
fnainlog in the human breaflt, which ftill want 
f^pply, ai>d which v^ill fievpr c^afe ^o toroicnt 


it. I need fcarcely add, that a little fuffices 
Nature, whilft Avarice exclaims fhe never has 
enough. Upoa the whole, fince riches, inftead 
of exempting from wants, create new ones ; how 
can mortals fuppofe that a fufficiency is obtained 
by them for all their neceffities ? 

Tho' ftreams of gold pour in from every fidci 
The reftlefs mifer ne'er is fatisfied ; 
Tho* pearls and diamonds 'mid his treafurcs blaze^ 
His verdant fields tho' herds unnumbered graze, 
Confuming cares his joylcfs days attend ; 
lih ufelefs wealth forfakes him at his end. 


But dignities, you'll fay, render the perfons Thefo^e. 
inveftcd with them eminent and refpeftable. "u^^^ 
What! have they the power to deftroy vice, and ^^^'" 
implant virtue in the heart? Surely not; for we ingof 
learn from experience, that places of dignity, in- honow!!- 
ftead of eradicating vicious habits, for the moft 
part ferve only to ftrengthen them, and make them 
more confpipuoust Hence we arc always filled with 
indignation, when we behold honours conferred on 
the wicked. Hence arofe the poet Catullus's re- 
fentmcnt againft Nonius the fenator> whom he 
calls the bile or impofthume of the ftate. Is not 
the difgrace, that honours devolve upon the worth- 
Icfs, very apparent ? Their bafenefs furely would 
haVc been lefs glaring, if they had not been ex- 
alted to fpcl) dignified ftations. Would you re*^ 



deem yourfelf from the danger that at prefenC 
hangs over youj by accepting a magiftracy in con- 
y^ jundion with Decor atus^ that infamous inifFoon 

and informer ? Can wc pcrfuadc ourfelves that 
honours render perfons refpedable whom we 
know to be unworthy of them i If you find a man 
endowed with wifdom, you deem him worthy 
of refpeft : for there is a worth peculiar to vir- 
tue^ which fhe never fails to communicate to her 
votaries. But as honours conferred by the popu- 
lace do not convey this worth, it is manifefl: 
they have it not to beiftow, and that they are 
void of all intrinfick merit. Here it ought to be 
particularly confidered — as a perfon, the more hiis 
unworthinefs is expofed> becomes thereby the more 
contemptible; and as eminent dignities cannot 
mtkc men, who are abandoned, rcfpe&ables they 
mufl, therefore, as they place the vices of thefe 
profligates in a more confpicuous point of view, 
render them more univerfally the objeds of con- 
tempt and hatred. Neither do the dignities them- 
feives eicape without injury; men of worthkfs 
chara6ters take their revenge upon them> whilft 
they fully and difgrace them by the contagioh 
of their guilt. But it is very cafy to (how you, 
thefe Xhadowy honours have nothing in their nature 
to engage and procure refpect ; for if a perfon, 
. though he had been honoured feveral times with 
the Confolate, fhould by accident go among a 
barbarcnis people, would this honour render him 



, mow refpeftabic in their eyes ? Certainly it would 
tiotfc But this it would infallibly do ^vcry where, 
if refpeft was an attribute of honours^ as heat 
is to firei which is hoc in ^very country on 
earth. Thus, becaufe refpeft is not infeparably 
attached to dignified ftations, but is only ^at- 
tributed to them by men's falfe opinions^ honours 
muft therefore appear vain and frivolous to peo- 
ple who fee them in their true light ; and as 
fuch, they afluredly appear to all diftant nations. 
—But let me now afk you, Whether, in the 
very countries that gave birth to them, places of 
dignity always continue equally refpei?tible ? The 
praetorate, the dignity and authority whereof was 
formerly fo great, you know is nothing now but 
an empty title, and" in point of expence a heavy 
burthen to the fenators. The fuperin tendency of 
provifions, which was heretofore an honourable 
office, is now confidered as a very dclJ)icaMe em* 
ployment. But whence doth this arife ? Why it 
proceeds from what we juft now obferved, that 
thofe things, which have nothing intrinfically 
good and meritorious, lofe their (plendour and 
value, as popular opinion varies concerning them. 
Thus, if dignities cannot render refpeftable thofe 
who are invefted with them; if they arcv them- 
fclves fullied by the dilhonour which bad men 
rcflcft upon them $ if they lofe their fplendour 
by a change of times j if, in fine, they are of no 
value among nations who juftly confidcr them; 




what beauty, what inherent worth have they tQ 
render them the fuprcme objcds of dcfirc ? and 
how is it poffible that they can ever com* 
municate worth to thofc upon whom they de- 
volve? / ' 

Tho' Nero flione in glittering veftments gay. 
And flowing purple mark'd his fovereign fway j ' 
Yet fuch a chief, fp profligate and bafe, 
Was ever deem'd a fcourge to human race. 
This wretch hovve'cr dealt round, with impious 

The ftate's chief honours to his Qavifh band. 
' Can honours, then, the fovereign good beftow. 
From fuch a fource when dignity may flow ? 

But do kingdoms, and a familiarity with 
princes, render men powerful and happy?— Why 
ihould they not, if they are durable ? Paft ages 
however, and the prcfent, furnifli us with too 
many examples of thedifraal-reyerfes of fortune to 
which crowned heads are liable. O then, may I 
exclaim, the wonderful efficacy of power,' which is 
not able to preferve itfelf ! But if happinefs is 
meafured by the extent of regal dominion, wherc- 
cver this ends, will not happinefs alfo there end, 
, and mifery take place ? Now, though feveral em- 
pires be far extended, it mufl: ftill be acknow- 
ledged their limits are bounded by other na- 
tions ovpr whom they have no reign. But whcre- 




ever power, which conftitutes happinefs, ceafcJ, 
there impotence, which creates mifery, muft pre- 
vail: and hence it neceflarily follows, that kings 
muft have a larger portion ofmifery than of hap- 
pinefs. Dionfyfius, the tyrant of Syracufe *, con* 


. • Thf ftory here alluded to is related very elegantly by Cic^ro^ in 
the vth.Book of his Tufculan Queltions. 

Nam cum quidam ex ejus afTentatoribus, Damocte8> commemoraret 
in fermone copias ejus^ opes, roajeftatem dominatiisy rerum abundan- ^ 

tiam> magniiicentiam sedium regiarum, negaretque onqMitm beatiorem 
quenqudm fuKTe — Vifne igitur, inquit, O Damocle, quoniam hsec te 
vita dele6tat, ipfe eandem deguftare, et fortunam experiri meam ? Cum 
fe iile cupere dixiffety collocari iuflit hominem in aureo \t6ki9^ ftrafo 
piilcherrimo textili ftragulo, magnificis operibut jpiSto } abacoTc^e 
complures ornavit argento auroque ccelato* Turn ad menfam 
eximia forma pueroft dele6los juflit confiftere, eofque ad nutum iUiut 
intuentefr diligenter miniikare. Aderant unguenta, coronae j inceo- 
debantur odores ; menfs conquiiitiflimis epulis extruebantur. ^ Fortu* 
natus iibi Damocles viijiebatur, |n hoc medio apparatUj fulgentem 
gladium e lacunari, feta equina appenfum, demitti juflit^ ut impenderet 
illias beati cervicibus. Itaque nee pulchros illos adminiftratores aipi* 
ciebaty nee plenum artis argentum ; nee manum porrigebat in menfam i 
jam ipfae defluebant coronae : denique exoravit tyrannum ut abire 
Jiceret, quod jam beatus noUet cife.— Satifne videtur declaraffe Diony*. 
fiu's, nihil elFe ei beatum» cui femper aliquis terror impendeat ? 

For when Damocles, one of his parafites, having launched ferth in 
praife of the fplendour of his dominion, the number of his forces^ 
the magnificence of his palace, and his amazing opulence, averring that 
there never vras any man fo happy — Will you then, fays the tyrant 
to Damocles, have a tafte of this life you are fo delighted with, and 
make a trial of my fortune ? It is what I wi(h, replied the parafite. 
Upon which^ he was placed upon a bed of gold, with fplendid cover- 
ingi, adorned with the richeft embroidery. The table was fet forth) 
and decorated with gold and filver plate of the moft curious workman* 
ihtp. Some very beautiful young flaves were ordered to wait at table^ 
and were enjoined to watch hit looks, and ferve him at the fmallefl 
/^p)»U The moft «xqui(itc viands were prefcnted to him, with an 





fcipus of the danger of his condition, ej^hibited 
very ftrikingly the jilarms-of royalty, by th« terror 
of a n^Jced fword fofpendcd by a fingle hair, . ^nd 
hanging over the head. How infignifjicant a 
thing then is power, which cannot protect fropn 
the tormenting flings of fear, and the reftlefs 
gnawings of anxiety I Kings are defirous of liv- 
ing in a (late of fecuritys but this (late, alas! they 
cannot obtain : an illuftrious mark, furely, of that 

f^undancetif dSMceS) garlflfldt, and peifbmes. DamoeUs thought 
litmfelf perfc^y bappy : when tb« tyrant, in the middle of this ^enr 
did feafty commanded a drawn fword, of the brighteft poliih, to be 
Ai/pended by ft (ingle horfe-hair juifciover the head *of this man fo cn- 
dijmted with his hatppineft. Immediately all his felidty ded ^ hia 
«yes were no more delighted with the beautiftil attendants and fuperb 
plate ; the delicacies that were let before him loft their reliih j the gar- 
lands that bound his brows fell down of themfelves. In ihort, he aiked 
the tyrant's permiffion to retire, becaufe that now he did not chufe to 
be happy.— Doth it not hence fufficiently appear, that Dionyiius de- 
dared himfelf miferable, as he was confcious there were fo many im- 
minent dangers conftantly furrounding him ? 

Horace alA> alludes to this ftory, in Book III. Ode i. 
DtftriAus ea£s cui fuper impia 
Cci'vice pendet, noo Stculse dapes ' 

Pukcan elaborabunt faporem, 
Non avium citharaeque cantut 
Spmnum reducemt. 

Behold the wretch^ with confcious dreadj 

In pointed vengeance o*er his head» 

Who views th' impending fword \ 

Not dainties force his pall'd deiire, 

Norchaunt'Of birds nor vocal lyre 

To him can fleqp affocd* 




power which they plume thcmfelvcs fo much 
upon ! But do you believe that man powerful, 
whom you fee eagerly wiihing what he cannot 
accompliih ? Efteem you him powerful, who goes 
furrounded with an armed guard/ and who terrifies 
thofe of whom he himfelf is more afraid ? And 
is he, in fine, to be reckoned powerful, whofe 
power depends folely ^ipon his numerous attend^ 
ants ?— r-After having thus difplayed the imbecil- 
lity of kings, why need I enlarge upon that of 
their favourites, whole fortune is liable to be 
overturned, not only by the inconftancy of a ca- 
pricious mafter in profperity, but alfo by the ad- 
verfity to which he is incident, wheVeof his mi^ 
mons nouft neceflarily partake ? Nero would grant 
no other favour to Seneca, his friend and precep. 
tor, than to make choice of the death he was 
to Xufier. Caracalla commanded Papinian, who 
had been long powerful at court, to be flaugh- 
tcred by his foldiers *• Stich was the fate of thefc 
great men, though before their difgrace they 
were willing to refign their auokority, and to re- 
treat from court : nay, Seneca ofiered to put 
Nero in pofleilion of all his wealths and begged 

• Papinian was a famous lawyer, and is faid toliave txctWcd all of 
his profdHon who preceded and followed hijn. He vnm in great fa- 
vour with the emperor Severus^ Caracalla^s father^ by whorai he was 
made<pi«feft of the palace j and when that emperor died, he committed 
his fom Caraodhi and Geta to his chu^. Piiipmian was a man of . 
die greaiet worth imd integrftjr. He ^Rraa Haughtered by Caracalla, 
ibecaufe he cgadeamc A llii cmdty in ditjsurdef^ of hit brother Geta. 

:r. of 



6f bim only liberty to retire, and enjoy eafeanfd 
tranquillity. But relentlefs Fortune precipitated 
both of thefe favourites to deftru6kion, and would 
DOt permit them to obtain what they wilhed. Of 
what value then is this power, which fills men with 
perpetual dread, jnd which can neither be re* 
tained if?ith fafety nor laid down at pleafure ?— 
But perhaps you value power becaufe it procures 
you friends. What advantage, tell me, can you 
derive from thofe friends, whom your profperity, 
but not your virtue, attaches to you ? Be affured 
df this, that if profperity hath made you a friend, 
adverfity will make him your enemy*. And 
what plague* will be more efficacious in hurting 
you, than an enemy in whom you repofed all 
your confidence ? 

True fov'reign power who would obtain, 
A conqueft o'er himfelf mufl: gain ; 
Norkt his paffions wildly ftr^. 
And fnatch him from himfelf away ; 
Their turbulence rauft all be broke. 
And tam*d to reafon's gentle yoke* 

• Ovid fays. 

Donee eris ifeTixy ixiultos ntimerabis amlcotf $ 
, Tempora ft fuerint nubila, folus eris. 

When profpcrous Fortune fhines with bright'ning nyt. 
Your friends in crowds around you flatf ring grow |r 

But when th^ inconfiant dims with (clouds your days, 
iVlone tl^ey kave you to Um^t ypur woe* 



'W'hlt tho' you ftretch your wide cbmrharidi 
' From diftant Ihdi^'s fruitful land 
To utmoft Thule's lonely fhore *, 
And reign the world's Wide Empire o*cr : 
Yet, if this plentitude of fway 
Drives not corroding care away; 
If phantoms vairi ftill break your reft; 
If grief and rdge diftraft your breaft j 
Alas ! you boaft your power in vain^ 
And ftill an abj(^ft flave remain; 

But how unfatisfadkory and fallacious iS what fi^^ ^\^ 

you mortals call fame or glory ! And as it may f^^^l^^^, 

be unworthily acquired, is it not often igno- rnents ff-- 

minious ? So that the tragic poet very juftly ex- fo^^hc 

How oft hive ef rihg mortals crown'd the baffe 
With glory and unmerited renown f 1 

Fof it muft be acknowledgedi that nftultitudes 
have obtained a fhining reputation from nothing 
elfe but the prejudices of a misjudging. populace. 
!kow whit can be more infamous than renown 
built upon fuch a foundation ? For -unmerited 
praifes ought furely to overwhelm with ihame 

• SoKnus informs us that many fmall iflands lie round Britain, the 
northernm^ft of wbtth is Thftlc, -^^here there \i almoft no night in thfe 
fummer folftice, when the fun is in Cancer. Some imagine that 
'jThule is Iceland. 

•f" Thefi; two lines are taken from feui ipides's tragedy of Andr«- 

H thofe 




thofe to whom they are addrcffed, as they mirft 
be confcious they have no title to them« But 
when juft and wcllHuerited praifes are given to a 
wife and good n[>an> do they add any thing to his 
felicity ? Do they encreafc the inward fatisfadion 
and complacency of him^ who places his happinefs^ 
not in the applaufes of a giddy multitude, but in 
the teftimony of an upright confcience? It is 
alfo manifeft, that if a man cfteems it glorious to 
propagate his famej he mud of courfe think it 
diihonourable not to do it. But^ as we formerly 
remarked^ there are a great many nations to whom 
the fame of even the moft illuftrious charadcrs 
cannot reach ; it foUows^ theFefope> that he whom 
you look upon as exalted to the very pinnacle of 
glory, muft be totally unknown to far the greatcf^ 
. part of the earth.. The more I confider this mat- 
ter, I am the more confirmed in my opinion^ thatr 
the favour of the multitude is unworthy of attcn- 
tion|. as it h very feldom judiGious>. and never 
Nobility of But who is there that does not perceive the 
counted* cmptincfs and futility of what men dignify with^ 
^hefove- jj^^ name of high extra&ion, or nobility of birth 3 
The fplendor you attribute to this, is quKe forciga 
to you: for nobility of defcent is nothing elfc 
but the credit derived from the merit of your 
anceftors. If it is the applaufe of mankind, 
and nothing befides, that illuftrates and con- 
fers fame upon a pcrfon ; no others can be cele- 


bratcd and femousi' but fuch as arc tmiverfally 
applauded. If you are not therefore efteemed 
illuftrious from your own worthy you can derive* no 
feal fplendor frbm the merits of others : fo that, 
in my opinion, nobility is in no othef rcfpeft good^ 
than as it impofes an obligation upon its pofTef- 
fors, not to degenerate from the merit of their an- 


Ye mortals vain who tread the earthi 
Ye draw from one great origin your birth i 

From that tinbounded PowV fupreme> 
Who made and governs this ftupendous frame. 

He Phoebus with his fays adorns. 
And gilds the filver Cynthia's dewy horns : 

He fiird with ftars th' etherial fpacci 
And peopled earth with man's imperial racei 

He from his eflence pure a ray 
Took, and infus'd with foul the lifeleft clay. 

Such the defcent of high and low ; 
They all from the fame ftem illuftrious flow* 

Why boaft ye then your numerous train 
Of anceftorsj and vaunt your noble ftrain ? 

Since all from God derive their linc^ 
And nought ignoble Iprings from power divine 3 

Go,— imitate your Sire above ; 
Your pedigree by deeds deferving prove l 

For none degenerate is^ and bafe, 
But he who from his fource and virtue ftrays. 

Hi But 



• "» 

* ♦ • • • 

' pleafuret 
the fpve* 
reign good. 


But what (hall I fay, with rcfpcft to fcnfual 
pleafures ? Is not the appetite, that prompts to the 
enjoyment of thcfe, always attended with anxiety, 
and the fruition itfelf with repentance ? What 
difeafes, what intolerable pains (the merited fruits 
of vice), do they not bring upon thofe who are 
abandoned to them? The delight that flows 
from their gratification, I am unacquainted with'; 
but this I know, the refledion upon thefe cri- 
minal indulgences is always accompanied with 
bitter remorfe. If happinefs confifts in the enjoy- 
ment of thefe gratifications, I fee no re^on why 
the brutes may not attain to it j as they are wholly 
employed in Satisfying the cravings of fenfuality. 
It might be reafonably cxpeftcd, that much com- 
fort would be found in a wife and children : 
but this does not always happen. I have heard of 
a perfon who bitterly exclaimed, that he had found 
tormentors in his own ofi^spring — an unhappy ftate 
for a parent. But as you have not experienced any 
miferies arifing from this fource, neither are 
under the apprehenfion of diftrefs from fuch pain- 
ful feelings, I fhall not ftop to defcribe them to 
you# I will only add to this a fentiment of my 
difciple Euripides; who obferves, that he who 
has no children is happy in his misfortune. 

Honey's flow'ry fweets delight ;' 
Soon they cloy the appetite. 


<mf ^ 


Touch the Bee — the wrathful thing 
Quickly flies — but leaves a fting. 

Mark here the emblems, apt and true, ' 
Of the pleafures men purfue : 
Ah ! they yield a fraudful joy 5 
Soon they pall, and quick they fly ; 
Quick they fly — but leave a fmart 
Deep-fermenting in the heart. 

It appears then unqueftionably evident, that Happineft, 
happinefs can never be obtained, by purfuing the fovereign 
ways we have mentioned-, that they are all falfc gopd,not v 

J ./- to be found 

and erroneous; and tho' they promife to lead inthe 
men to the fovereign good, they do by no means nJention- 
perform what they undertake. But without enter- «<*«tcr. 

f ^ nal things. 

ing into a long detail, I (hall now explain the 
evils with which thefe pretended ways to hap- ♦ 
pinefs are perplexed. To proceed then-^Do you 
defire to accumulate ftores of wealth? to accom- 
plifli this, you ftrip your neighbours of their 
poflTeflions. Do you thirft after the fplendor of 
dignities? you muft fupplicate thofc that bc- 
ftow them :, and thus, inftead of exalting yourfclfi 
and becoming refpeftable, you incur diigrace by 
the mod humiliating condefcenfion. Is power 
your ambition ? in purfuing it, you expofe your- 
felf to the fnares.of inferiors, and lay yourfelfopen 
to danger from every quarter. Do you contend for 
glory ? you will encounter a thoufand vexatious 
obftruftions, and muft give up your tranquillity 
for it. Do you prefer a voluptuous life ? in 

H 3 what 


what fovcreign contcrtipt is he not held, who 
becomes a flave to fuch a wretched and con-^ 
teniptible thing as his body ? Farther, you muft 
furely confcfs that they raife* their pride upon a 
flight and fallacious foundation, who felicitate 
themfelves upon their bodily advantages. iSay— • 
do you furpafs the elephant in bulk, the bull in 
ftrength, or can you outftrip the tyger in the race ? 
Go, and contemplate the immenfe es^tent of the 
heavens -, go and examine, what is flill more ad- 
mirable, that confummate wifdom which governs 
them I and no longer conQder, as objeds of admi- 
ration, things worthlefs ^nd contemptible. A9 
to beauty, how tranfieqt 1 ^nd of how ibort ^ 
duration ! fading fooner than the vernal fjower.— ^ 
If men, as Ariftotle fays, had the eyes of a lynx, 
which could pierce through all preventing obfta- 
cles; in taking a view of the interior of ft body, 
as lovely as that of Alcibiades j would not they 
find it foul and difgufting? It is not there- 
fore to the qualities inherent i(i their bodies, that 
mortals are indebted for their beauty ; but to the 
limited and imperfeft yiew pf thofe who behold • 
them. But prize as highly as you^pleafe the per* 
feftions of the body, ftill you muft confefs, that 
it may be brought to a period in three days, by 
the raging flames of a fever. From the whole^ 
we may draw this coqclufion — As the things above 
mentioned do not comprize every good, and do 
l^ot Jjeftpw the 'advantages * which theypromife, 

7 ^hcy 

•* * 

* • * 
* * 

• 1 



they cannot of thennfelves either render nwn hap- 
py^ or become the means of procuring hap- 

* Ah ! how, by phantoms falfe beguil'd. 
And blind to Truth's propitious ray. 
Vain men in mazes dark and wild. 
Through ignorance, are made to flray ! 

Yet gold they fcek not from the trees. 
Nor fparkling diamonds from the vine. 

Nor, Ocean's dainty brood to feize. 

On mountains place th' enfharing twine i 

Nor yet to hunt the clambVing goat. 

They fcarch the fliel ves that tides overflow 5^^' 
But what the wealtb of fejis remote. 
And where to find it, well they know; 

/ Where moft the f fnowy gems abound. 

And where the J radiant purple dwells; 
Where finny fifti are richeft found. 
Or § urchins clad in briftly fhells.*— > 

* The tranflation of ibis mttnim was done by iny late, brother* 

f The pearh are found in a (hell-fifli refembling the oyfter» but 

X This dye is found in a ihellWi(h{ it was much ufed by the ^ 

ancients, particularly by the Tyrians* ' 

§ A. fea-urchin, a delicious» a kind of c^ab, having briftlet 
jnftead of feet* . 

H 4 But 



Put where the fovereign good abides. 
The blinded mortals never know^s 

In heavenly manfions what rcfides. 
They vainly try to find below. 

What doom deferve the filly race ? 

Fal/ejoys why let them ftill purfue ; 
Till, cheated with the (hadowy chacc. 

Too late they languilh for the true *. 

I have been hitherto employed ip giving 
you a view of falfe happinefs. As I arn per- 
fuaded you have considered it attentively, I 
fljall how proceed to ftiew wherein real and ge- 
nuine felicity copfifts. — I itp very clearly^ faid I^ 
i^hat pherc is po fufBciePcy, nothing fully fatis- 
faftory in riches, nothing pQWcrfjjJ in royalty, 
nothing refpeftable jn dignities, nothing fliining 
in glory, nothing delightful in pleafures.-^But 
do you pcfceive, faid ft^e, the caufe of all this ? 
-T-A glimmering of it only ftrikes me, but 
I fhall be happy to Jcnqw the re^fon of it more 
diftinftly frpm ygu. The caufe, faid (he^ I3 
obvious; for that which is one and indivifible ip 
Nature, hunrian ignorance feparates ; and hence 
picn are mi^ed fron) wh4f \% true and pcrfedt, to 
that which is imperfc6t and counterfeit. This 
f ruth I (Jiall now endeavour to explain. Tell me 
jhcn, does that ft ate which ftands ia need of no- 

f yirtutem videant} intabefcantque reliAa. 





thing, want power ? — No. — You sire in the right, 
faid ihc, for if any thing wants power, it muft 
want aifo external aid. — That is true. — There- 
fore you muft confefs that fufEciency and power 
are of one and the fame nature. — This I acknow- 
ledge.— And do you think, added (he, that ad- 
vantages of fuch a nature, as power and fuffi- 
ciency, are to be condemned ? On the contrary, 
are they not worthy of univerfal refpeft ?— Un- 
qucftionably they are. — Let us add therefore, faid 
(he, refpeft to fufficiency and power, and let us 
confidcr all three as one and the fame thing. — I 
fee no objeftion to their being confidered in that 
view. — But can that be an obfcure and ignoble 
ftate, continued fhe, which poffeffes fuch ex- 
traordinary advantages ? or rather, is it not 

brightened by a ftining reputation \ • For rcfleft 
but a little : Have you not already granted 
that the ftate we now fpeak of is powerful 
and refpeftable, and that it Wants nothing? 
but if it wants a ftiining reputation, which it 
cannot of itfclf fupply, is it not by this defect, 
in fome degree, infufficient ? — Surely it is, an- 
fwered | ; and I muft confefs that reputation is 
infeparabje from the advantages you have men- 
tioned.'— You muft agree therefore, faid flic, that 
the latter differs in nothing from the three before 
mentioned.— The confequence isjuft. — If any one 
then, continued Ihe, is in fuch a fta,te that he 
peeds np external afliftance^ bqt by hinifelf can 



, procutc ^m he wants^ and foefldesi is jllqftrious an4 
fefpe&abLe ; is it not evident that fuch a perfon^s 
ccojdttiQn muft be vtry agreeable and plcalTant ?-»• 
J cannot indeed conceive, I replied, how any 
thing difagreeable or unpleaiant can accompany 
fuch a ftate.— It muft undoubtedly, laid fhc, 
be a ftate of happinefs, if what we have before 
eftabli£hed holds good. And from thi^ it 
plainly follows, that Efficiency, power, rcputa^ 
tion, refped, pleafure, are all one and the fame ^ 
4ifieHng only in name, but not in fubftance.-^ 
This, faid I, is a neceffary confequence«~*AU 
tbe& things, added flie, which are by nature 
ibelame and indivifible, mankind, by an efied 
of their depravity, <livide : but while they 
labour to accjuire a part of a thing, which ha^ no 
parts, (hey neither obtain what they fcek, as 
it does not exift, nor the thing itfelf, which, 

- they h§ve opt direftly in their view. — But 
how does this happen ? faid I. — He that dcfire^ 
riches,, to preferve himfelf from want;, replied 
ibe, is not folicitous about power: he prefer^ 
meannefs and obfcurity, and denies himfelf plea* 
fures the moib natural, that he may not le0en 
the heaps he ftrives to accumulate. But yoi^ 
muft furely confefs that a ftate of fufficicncy 
cannot be bis, who is deftitute of power, barred 
from pleafures, corroded with chagrin, defpicablc, 
and buried in obfcurity. But he again whofe 
ambition is power alone, facrifice$^ tQ ,this purfuit 



wealthy defpifes pieafures^ flights glory^ nor does 
he hold dignity in eftimation^ unlefs when ac* . 
cotnpanied with power. The many advant^ge^ 
wanting to fuch a perfon are palpable^ He muCb 
often want things cflentially neceflkry^ and be 
tormented with anxiety: and as he will fiiul 
it impoifible to guard againft thofe evils^ he will 
foon be convinced that he is far from being power* 
fuK In the fame way may we xeafon with rct- 
gard to honours^ glory^ and pleafure. For a$ 
all thefe things are by nature one and the famc^ 
he that purfues any one of them feparately frona 
the others^ will never obtain wh^t he defires* 
^-*-3ut what, faid I, if a man defires them all at 
once ?— He would then indeed defire perfeft feli^ 
city* But can he ever exped to find it in the 
acquifitions above-mentidned, which, as we have 
Jhewn, do not perform what they promife ?— No 
furely, faid I.— In thefe acquifitions therefore, *^ 
which are falfely fuppofed Capable of fupplying 
' every human defire, happinefs you acknowledge 
is by no means to be fought for ?— Of the truth 
of thiS| I am perfedly convinced.— Thus then, 
continued fiie, I have given you a compleat 
view of falfe happinefs, and of its caufes : yon 
have now nothing more to do, than to turn the 
eye of your mind upon the reverie of all this, and 
you will inftantly perceive the true happinefs 
which I promifed to fliew you.— There is none 
fo Wind, f^id I, that may not clearly perceive 



The true 


rifticks of 


or the fo- 




that ineftimahle good, I had a complete view o( \t 
when you juft now explained to me the charac- 
terifticks of its opponent : * for, if I am not de- 
ceived, true felicity confifts in a date of*fuffi- 
ciency, of power, and honour, in cpnjun<5lfoti 
with a fhining reputation, and every defirable 
pleafure* And, to fatisfy you how much your 
Icffons have ' enlightened my underftanding, I 
declare to you, I am perfeftly convinced, that 
genuine felicity is what is bellowed by thefe 
advantages, as they ^re, in reality, all one 
and the fame.— O my dear pupil, exclaimed 
flie, how happy are you in fuch a conviftion ! 
But you mufl: add to it one limitation.— 
What is that? — Do you believe that the frail 
and perifhing enjoyments of earth have this ftate 
of happinefs in their difpofal ? — No j by no means, 
anfwered I : you have proved the eonti:ary fo 
clearly, that I have no doubt remaining upon this 
point, — Thtfe perilhing enjoyments, added fhe, 
furnifli mankind only wjth the Ihadow of the fu- 
preme good, or at moft with goods that are ex- 
tremely impcrfedl 5 but as fol- true confummate 
Felicity, this they have not in their power to be- 
,ftow. — I told her, I was entirely of her opinion. 

* The chara^eriilicks of the fovereign good, given us by the learned 
and ingenious Mr. Harris, in his Dialogue concerning Happinefs, which 
contains the beft and moft confiftent view of the Stoick Philofophy that 
ever was pubtifhed, are, That it is agreeable to our nature, con- 
ducive to well-being, accommodated to all places and times, durable, 
felfr derived, apd indeprivable. 




—•But as you have now, continued ftie, difcovered 
what the true felicity is, and know how to diftin- 
guifh itfrom'the/alfes what now remains, is to 
teach you where you are to feek for this fupremc 
good. — This is what I have lohg wifhed for,-— 
But if it be neceflfary, added Ihe, as Plato ob- 
ferves in his Tima^us, to implore the Divine 
affiftange, even in the fmalleft enterprizesj what 

I t 

think you ought we to do, to render us worthy 
of fo, important a difcovery. as that of the fo- 
vereign good ? — Let us invoke, replied I, the 
Parent of Nature : without firft addrefling him, 
no work is well begun, nor can be rightly con- 
duced. — You are in the right, faid fhe ; and im- 
mediately warbled forth, with delightful melody, 
the following hymn : 

O Thou ! who by eternal Rfeafon's law 

The world doft rule ! great Parent of the heavens 

And of the earth ! by whqfe command fupreme. 

Time flows from birth of ages ! who, unchanged 

And firm thyfelf, mak'ft all things elfe to move * , 

Thy fovereign wjU to fleeting matter gave 

Its various forms, by no external caufe 

Impeir-d, but by the idea of the Beft 

In thy great mind conceived, of malice void : 


• ThcPIatonick doarineof a fovereign mind 1$, that it is ftable 
in itfelf, yet the fountain of all motion, and operating good perpetually, 
by a perpetual efflux of form and beauty. Note from SjdenhanCs 
$Uiant tranfiation of the greater Hipfias. p. 95. 



«r the 
exiftsy anci 
refides in 
the Deity, 
vrho is the 
and the 
only good* 


The mighty modcli frzm'd by art divine 

Ere ages yet began^ thou copiedft forth 

III this vaft world j whence^ all that's good and 

The lively Image of the fair Supfeme^ * 

m m m m 
m m m m 

# ♦ » # 

O gracious Parent ! elevate our fouls^ 
And give us accefs to thy throne fublimej 
That ftable feat of pure felicity ! ' 
All earth-born cares remove 5 difpel the mitts 
Of fenfe } and with a ray from heav^'n illume 
Our darkened minds* Give us to fee thy lightj 
Give us to view the fource of good unveil'd 3 
And fix, O ever fix our eyes on thee ! 
Delighted may we reft on thee, the ftay 
And joy of hallowed fouls, and center all 
Our happinefs on thee, our Sire benign, 
Our guide, prote£tx)r, folaccj hope^ and goal 1 

As a faithful reprefentation of falfe happinefsj 
and of the true Felicity, has been repfefented to 
you, I fhall now proceed to explain, whcrcift the 

* The 11 lines that follow^ in the original, tefer to fome of the mod 
fubdle, ahftrttfe ptrts^ t)f PIato*t Philofophy; and are tery obfcaiv. I 
have not tranflated them, as t defpaired of making any veriion of 
them, that would be fatisfii^lory to myfelf, or agreeaUe to my readers* 

The firft I j verlea of this tranfiation were gireft me by itty brother 

The original of tht verfts in tbt« metnim h remarkably beaa« 
tiful. ; 



perfeAion of Felicity confifts. In vle# to this^ 
we ought firft to examiae^ whether there esiils 
in nature fuch a good as you have lately d«<- 
fined;, that our imagination may not deceive tiSy 
in taking a mere chimera for a thing that it real^ 
and has a being. But that the ibvereign good 
does exift, and that it is the fourcc and center of 
every other good, cannot be denied. In. fad, 
when we call a thing imperfedb, it is only ta 
diftinguiih it from fome other thing th^ is 
perfcft. Hence, if any thing, of whatever par- 
ticular clafs or kind of exiftenee it be, appears ta 
be imperfe£t; there muft of neceflity be alfo 
fome other thing that is perfcft in this very clafs : 
for if you take away pcrfeAion, imperfeftion 
ceafes to exift, and becomes a term quite unin- 
telligible. Nature alfo doth not commence her 
operations by rude and unfinifhed productions: 
Ae forms, at firft, the beft works, the pureft and 
mod complete; but afterwards gives birth to thingt 
lefs perfect and efficacious. So that, if, as wc 
have before fiiewn, there i» an imperfect feli- 
city in this world, there muft be alfo in* ic 
a folid and a perfeft one.— Your conclufion, 
is mod juft and true.— It will not now be diffi- 
cult to difcover, continued &e, where this true 
Felicity refidcs. Every mind endowed with ap- 
prehenfion and judgment, finds in itfelf a proof 
that God, the author of all things, is good. For, as 
we can conceive nothing better than God, can we 



have any doubt but that he^ who has no equat 
in goodnefs^ is good ? And Reafon^ while it thus 
demonftrates fo clearly that God is good> evinces 
at the fame time, that the fovercign good refides 

' in him. For if this were not fo, God could not 
poffibly be, as he really is, the author of all 
things -, for there would be fome other Being more 
excellent than he is, who poflcffcs the fupreme 
good, and who muft have exifted before him; 
becaufe all perfeft things plainly precede things 
that are lefs complete. That our reafonings may 

/ not therefore run on into infinity, we muft confcfs 
that the Supreme God comprehends in his nature 
a plenitude of perfeft and confummate good : but 
perfed good we have proved to be true felicity* 
It neccffarily follows, then, that true felicity re- 
fides in the Supreme Divinity. — This muft be ad- 
mitted,' faid I, as I can fee nothing that can be 
objefted againft it. — But I pray you, continued 
Ihe, let us fee how you can firmly and irrcfragably 
prove what I have advanced, that the Supreme ^ 
God contains in his nature a plenitude of perfefi: 
and confummate good.— How fball I prove that ? 
replied L — Do you fuppofe, faid fbe^ that the- 
Author and Parent of all things hath received 
the fuprenne good, with which, as we have (hown,- 
he abounds, from any thing extraneous or with-^ 
out? or, do you imagine, that the fubftance of 
this felicity i which refides in God, is in apy refpeft 
different from that of the Deity himfclf ? If yow 



iuppoie that Deity hath received this good from 
without, you muft likewife believe, that what bc- 
ftows a thing, is more excellent than what re- 
ceives it. But we have already admitted, what 
cannot be denied, there is nothing more excel- 
lent than God : it is therefore manifeft that he 
cannot derive this felicity from any thing without. 
But if this good is fuppoled to dwell in God, and 
to be of a different fubftance, it is inconceivable, 
allowing God to be the author of all things, what 
could have united thefe two fubftances that thus 
differ from one another. Befides, a thing which 
differs from another, cannot be the fame with that 
from which it is fuppofed to differ ; confcquently, 
what differs in eflcnce from the fupreme good, 
cannot be the fupreme good : but it would be 
blafphemy thus to conceive of God ; as it is ma- 
nifeft nothing can be more pure and perfeft than 
that fovereigA and independent Being. In fa£t:, 
notjiing can exift whofe nature is better than its 
origin. We may therefore conclude, with .abfo- 
lute certainty, that the origin^of all things Js 
rc^lyand fubftantially the fuprem e good. — Un- 
doubtedly we may. — But did not you own, faid 
flie, that true felicity was the fovcreign good ? 
—•I confefs I did. — You muft therefore alfo grant 
that God is that very felicity. — I can neither call 
in queftjon, anfwcred I, your principles, nor the 
confequence which you draw from them. — ^Let us 
now try, continued ftie, whether we cannot prove 

I the 




the fame thing more conymcingly by confiderb^ 
it in this view> thdt two forereign goofls^ difieroit 
froitl one another, daiinot exift. For of the 
good that difierss it is apparent one cannot be 
what the other is : therefore neither of them can 
be t>erfe£t^ as the one wants the other. But if 
i^ither of them ate perfeft, it is evident that 
neither the one or the other is the fovereign 
good. As fuch goods cannot differ from one 
another $ and we have before proved, that God 
and Happinefs are the fovereign good s it neceflariljr 
follows that the Sovereign Felicity, and Supreme 
Divinity, are one and the fame. — ^Thereis nothing, 
faid I, more confident with reaibn and truth, and 
nothing more fui table to the perfcftions of the Dei ty,^ 
. than the confequence Which you hav^ at prcfent 
ikawp* — But I (hall now, added (he, following theex^ 
amjde of the geometricians, who commonly deduce 
from their demonflrations, what they call corol* 
laries^ infer, from what has been advanced, a moft 
honourable one for man. I fay then, fincc men be^ 
come happy by the enjoyment of Felicity, and as 
Felicity is the fame with the Divinity himfelf, it 
is' manifeft, th^t they become happy by the enjoy- 
Aient of the Divinity. But as by the participa-^ 
tion of juftiee, orof wifdom, men become juft 
or wife ; fo, by the partiei{>ating of Divinity^ 
.they mu& mice^ily, and U^r the very fame rraibn, 
/ bet^me Gods. Confequently every happy item 

, i* 


IS a God * ; for tho' there is but one in eflence^ 
there is nothing to hinder but there may be many^ 
by a participation of the Divine Nature, — I 
allow^ faid I, that this cordlary is admirablcj 
and of infinite value. — ^But what I am juft going 
to add, faid (he, is ftill more worthy of your ad- , 
miration. — ^What is that ? — As happinefs appears 
to be an . aflenriblage of many things, ought we 
hot to confider whether thefc fcveral things con** 
ftitute, conjunftly, the body of happinefs ? if I 
may fo exprcfs myfelf s or whether there is not 
ibme one of thcfe particular things that compofes 
its eflence, and to which all the reft have a rela- 
tion ? — I wilh, faid I, you would illuftrate this mat- 
ter by examples. — Do you not believe, added Ihe, 
that happinefs is a good ?— Yes certainly, anfwer- 
cd I ; and the fupreme good.— You may fay the 

• The Stoickt exprefs tlicmfeltes very ftrongly up«n thtt point. 
Epidetus fiiys to his pupil, ** You are a diftin^ portion of the eflenoe, 
<* of God, and contain a certain part of him in yourfclf. Why ^ 

^« then are you ignorant of your noWe birth ? Why do not you confider » 
V whence you came ? Why do not you remember, when you are eiui« 
*< ing, who you are that eateft $ and who that feedeft ? When you aire 
** in the company of women i when you are converiing $ when you ar« 
^* exercifing ) when you are difputing j do you not know that it h 
*^ Mr God you feed, a God you exercife ? You carry a God about w^ 
** you, wretch, and knpw nothing of it. Do .you fuppofe I mean foipe * 
<< God without you, of gold or filver? It is within yourfelf you 
^ carry him, and profane him, without being feniible of it, by impure 
'^thoughts and unclean aftions*** Mrs. Carter's Arrian, Book II* 
Ch* viii. S« !• 

The apoftle Paul talks in more moderate terms, when he reprelenti ' 
tbe bo&l of good men as the temf^es of the Holy Ghofl:. 

la fame. 



fame, continued- fhe, ; of all the other goods j fof 
pcrfeft; fuffidency is reckoned fupremc felicity; 
fo is fuprcme power j fo likcwife is an honourable 
rankj a (hin^ng rcpbt^tion, and a life of plea- 
furc— What do you conclude from all this? 
—Are alt thcfe things, anfwered Ihe, fufEciency, 
power, reputation, and the reft, to be confidered 
as conftituent members^ fo to fpeak, of felicity ? or, 
^ do they bear a relation to a good .as their ^r/»- 
cipalpart .^—1 underftand, faid I, what you pro- 
pofe to inveftigate, apd I am defirous to hear 
it made out.— Attend, faid Ihe, and I will elucidate 
this matter. If all thefe things were' members of 
felicity, they would differ from one another; for 
it is the property of members, or parts that differ 
from one another, conjundly taken, to compolc 
one body. But I have proved to you that thefe 
things are all the fame, and do in no rcfpeft differ. 
They can by no means, therefore, be members of 
happinefs j for if thfey were, happinefs might be 
faid to be made up of one member, which is 
abfurd, and cannot poflibly be. — All this is un- 
doubtedly true, faid I j but I wifh to hear the 
fequel. — We know, replied fhe, the things we 
have fo often mentioned, do all of them bear a 
relation to a good. For if fufliciency is defired, it 
is defircd becaufe it is cfbccmed a good : if power 
iS fought after, it is for the fame reafon ; tod upon 
this account likewife it is, that we dcfire to obtain 
refpcft, glory, and plcafure. Good then is the mo- 




thri and the end of all thefe wiflies : for that which 
contains no good, either in reality of appearance, 
can never be defired. On the contrary, things that 
are not in their nature good, are wilhed for, becaufe 
they have the appearance of being real goods. 
Hence, good is juftly efteemed the motive, the 
foundation, and the end of all the defires of man^ 
kindr but, that which is thecaufeof ourdefiring 
any thing, is itfelf what we principally want. Fot 
examples if a man amounts his horfe on account 
of health, it is not fo much the exercife of riding 
that he feeks, as itsfalutary eflFedts. And as we have 
proved that thefe latter things af e purfued from no 
other intention than to obtain happinefs, it is hap* 
pinefs therefore only that is fought after. Hence it 
clearly follows, that the good we have been reafon* 
ing upon, and happinefs, differ in no refpeft, but 
are of one and the lame fubftance. — I fee no caufe, 
faid I, to diffent from yovir opinion*— But it has 
been proved,^ added (he, that God and true hap- 
pinefs are one and the fame thing.— It has £6. 
—We may therefore certainly conclude, faid £hc, 
that the fubftance of God is alfo the f^oie with 
that of the fupreme good. 

O ! hither come, ye mortals weak and vain ! 
Immersed in grov'ling carcsi by fond defires 
Led captive, whofe opprobrious chains you mourn; 
. O hither come ! come to this wondVous fource 

I 3 Of 



Of goodnefa ! here youUl find from weary toil I 

Sweet reft»( a fovereign balm for every wound! 
From Faffion's gales, and Fortune's ragbg wayesi^ 
An harbour fafe« Not all the gold that fhines 
. On Hermus* ^Hmks, or rolls with Tagus' ftreami* 
^ Not all the daizding gems that Indian mine^ 
Prolific yield^^ can clear the mental fight: 
From i^n delufions. Ah! the glaring toys 
Ptrplex the mind, and Reafon's beams obfcure i 
The ihining bane, that mortals blind a<4ore> 
Ripens in gloomy ciiverns qf the earth ^ 
Bafe in i|s origin, of heaven-bora minds 
Unworthy the puriuit* Ah I fpurn thp earthy 
And all its fordid treafures ; foar aloftt 
Upborn by Virtue, wing your way to heaven t 
Tranfcendent iplendor, unexhaufted floods 
Of glory, there, enraptured you-U behold >:««» 
A light inefiable, to which compared, 
Th^ fun's refulgent ray is weak and dim* 

I am entirely of your opinion, faid I ; for all 
ttiis hals been proved by infuperable arguments.—^ 
But how greatly would you value it, faid (he, did 
you fully know what this good is? — I (hould 
value it infinitely, if I could at the fame 
time atuirt to tKe knowledge of God, who 
is the fovereign good. — I (hall elucidate this 
matter, replied fhc, by reafons that are uncon- ^ 
trowrtibl^ op condition that you allow me 


to mal^o ufe ^ the principles formedy tiltblifli* 
cd.*^T<^ tki^ I willingly con^$.T-HaYC I not 
xmAt it cvi4cntt continued ih^ that the tbii^ 
which the majority of mankiiH} & eggeriy purfuei, 
ai:e not true and peif<^ goods i ^c^fe they 
difier from one anotherj and becaufir when one 
or more of them are wanting, the Qther9 mnnot 
confer a complete and abfolute good ? Have I 
not likewife ibcwn you, that the true fov^dgn 
good is eompofed of an a0emblage of Ml tho 
goods, in (iich a manner, that if entire fu^iency 
is a property "of this gpod, it muft ^t the fame 
time be endowed with power, and it muft be alfb 
refpedable, glorious, and abound with pleafure i 
Without this union, unlefs they are aH con« 
iidercd as one ai^d the fame thing i is there 
^y ground for ranking them among things de« 
fir^ble ? — You explained this matter fo well to 
me formerly, that I have m> doubt about it* 
-»-Wbilft thefc things differ from one another,' 
added Ihe, they are not goods i but as fopn 
as they become one^ they commence gtu^f ; t;ha€ 
they are goods then, is it not owing to their par* 
ticipation of unity ?-r^So it appears to be.*— But 
will you grant, that eN^ery thing which is- good^ 
becomes fuch by the participation of what is 
good ? Do you find in this any difficulty ? — None, 
—For the fame reafon you muft own, that unity 
and good are the fames for things that do not 
naturally diflfcr in their effeftsa muft ncceflarily 

I 4 have 






have the fame fubftancc,— This cannot be 
denied*. — ^Do you not perceive, continued (he/ 
that every thing which exifts is permanent, fa 
long as it preferves its unity ; but in the inftaht 
it lofes this, it is diflfolved and annihilated ?—-> 
How do you draw this conclufion ?— In the ani- 
mal creation, replied fhe, as long as the foul and 
body are ftri^tly united and conjoined in one, 
this being is called an animal; but when this 
union is difTolved by the feparatioil of the one 
from the other, the animal perilhes, and no longer 
exifts. The human body furnifhes us with an in- 
ftance of this 5 for whilft the unity of its form 
fubfifts by the conjunftion of its members, it re- 

• Power, fays Philofophy, and the other charaftcrifticks of tl\e 
ibvereign good, only become good by being united or by partaking 
of unity. ^ Now, as they partake of unity, e contrai unity muft par- 
take of them i and as they are good, unity muft alfo be good j— 
therefore unity and good are tl^e fame, 

Boethius was a great admirer of Plato : there are many reafonings 
of this kind to be found in the writings of that illuftrious philo- 

Our author proceeds to prove, that every thing defircs unity, or to 
remain in a permanent ^ate. And the confequences he draws from 
this r^afoning about unity and good, in p. 114., 1*5, are. Since all ^ 

things defire unity and good, and as unity is the fan^e thing ai good, 
kence what was proved before again follows, that all things deiire 
good } and hence, we miy alfo conclude, that it is one and the fame 
good or happinefs which all creatures purfue. Our Philbfophcr far- | 

ther infers, that it is the love of unity, or the defurc that all creatures ' 

have of exifting, which fixes and renders every thing liable j for with/- 
out this tendency or impulie^ all things in the univerfe would rove and 
float at nuidom* 




tains the human figure; but when thcfe parts 
are feparatcd, this unity is dcftroycd, and the 
body ccafes to be what it was before. In like 
manner, were we to examine other things, we 
Aould find that every thing fubfifts fo long as its 
"unity is preferved; but when that is deftroyed, 
the thing itfelf lofes its exiftence.— I am per- 
fuaded, replied I, that in every cafe we (hould 
find this to be true. Is there any being, added 
flie, while it a£ts according to nature, that fore- 
goes this defire of exiftence, and wiflies corruption 
and diflblution ? — In contemplating the various 
tribes of animals, anfwered I, which are all of 
them endowed by nature with a power of willing 
and not willing, I cannot difcover an individual 
among them, which of itfelf, and without con- 
ftraint, ^enounces its defire of felf-prefervation, 
and voluntarily haftens to deftruftion ; for every 
animal endeavours to prefcrve itfelf, fhuns death, 
and avoids every thing that is hurtful to it. But 
with regard to ptants and trees, to all the vege- 
table kingdom, and t<l things totally inanimate, I 
am doubtful whether I ought to have the fame 
opinion of them. — There is no caufe, replied flie, 
why, in relation to thefe, you ought to entertaia 
any doubt. Do you not always behold plants 
and trees Ipring up in foils moft agreeable to 
their refpeftive natures, where they are fure 
to thrive, and are in no* danger of perifhing 
foon ? Some of them grow on plains, fome on 



l^lt> Others in ti^trihes ; &me arc fouAd fprout* 
Jug forth among rocks i barroi fands are congemsd 
to others s and if you attempt to tranfplantany of 
them to a different foil^ they quickly fade a^id' 
die. To every thing that vegetates, natwe givei 
what is proper for its fubfiftence, and takes care 
that it &ould not perifh before its ordinary pe- 
riod* Need I tell you^ that piants draw all 
their nouriflbment by their roots, which are as fo 
many mouths hid in the earth, through which 
the fap afcending by the heart and bark, corn-- 
municaites vigour to the whole vegetable. And 
farther, is it not admirably contrived, that the 
£>fteft ami ntoft tender part of plants^ the pith, 
lui it is called, is (hut up in the middle of the 
trunk, and £jrrounded with hard and folid wood, 
^iiich is covered with a coat of bark formed to 
endure the inclemencies of the weather, and to 
refift all external injury ? What care has not na* 
Jure alfo taken tp multiply plants, by multiply* 
ing their ^feeds ! Who does not know that they 
ire a kind of machines, which do not preferve 
cfeeir exiftence for a time only, but immortalize 
themfelves, as it were, by a fucceffive and per- 
pettial gewration? Things likewife totally in- 
^uiimate, do not they alfo, for the fanne reafon, in- 
line to what is moft (uitable to them ? Why does 
AaiDe mount upwards hf its levity, and the earth 
gravitace to the center by its weight, if it is not be- 



caufe thefe motions and tendencies are agreeable 
CO their refpedtive natures ?* Befides, it is mani^ . 
fefty that as what is agreeable to the nature of n 
thing prelei'ves its fp what is contrary to its na« 
ture dei^ojs it, Now> denfe bodies, fuch at 
ilones, whofe particles ftropgly cohere, refift an 
leafy reparation of parts ; whereas the particles of 
fltttdsy fuch as air and water, are eaGly feparated^ 
and as cafily re-united. But with regard to fire, 
it avoids all feparation of its parts, as is plain by 
the rapidity with which it every where ipreads^ 
you muft obfcrve, that I am not here fpeaking 
of the voluntary nnotions of a rational foul, but 
piily of thp neccflary operations of nature. Thus, 
for example, we digeft our food widiout thinking 
of it, and draw our breath in fleep, without our 
perception : for the defire of exiftence peculiar to 
animals, is not derived from an intelleAual will, 
but from natural principles implanted in them. 
Hence it is, that the will, induced by powerful 
reafons, fon^etinries chufes and embraces death, al- 
tho* nature dreads and abhors it ; and, on the con- 
trary, the fame will frequently reftrains men from 
immoderate indulgence in thofe pleafures^ to which 
nature always (Irongiy^ impels them, as the only v 
means of perpetuating the human race. The 
love therefore which every creature bears to it- 
felf, does not appear to be fo much an efieA of 
a volition of the mind, as bf a natural impreflion*, 
j^or Providence hath implanted, in all things ihe 



hath created, ah inftinft for the purpofe of felf-. 
preiervation, which powerfully excites them to re- 
taiiT their beings, as long as by the courfe of na* 
turc they can : fo that you cannot entertain the 
fmalleft doubt, but that every thing which 
pxifts, naturally defires exiftence, and avoids 
diffolution. — I confefs, faid I, that I now clearly 
perceive, what to me formerly appeared unccr^ 
tain.— To proceed, continued (he; what de- 
fires to fubfift defires alfo to retain its unityi 
for, if its unity is deftroyed, it cannot continue 
to exift. — ^Thar, faid I, is vfery true. — All things 
then, added flie, defire unity* — 1 agree with you 
they do, — But I proved before, that unity is the 
fame thing as good. — ^You did fo.— Thus all 
things, file further added, defire good ; whence 
you may alfo conclude, that it is one and the 
^ fame good which all creatures defire.-— It is im- 

poffible, faid I, to conceive any thing more true : 
for all things in the univerfe are either fixed by no 
relation, and finding themfelves deftitute, if I 
may fo exprefs niyfelf, of unity as their principle, , 
rove and float at random without direftion 3 or, 
if there is any thidg to which they have. a ten- ^ 
dency and impulfe, it rtiuft be to the fupremc 
and all-fufficient good.-^O my deareft pupil, faid 
Ihe, how greatly do I rejoice that your mind 
clearly apprehends the truth I was fo defiroiis to 
t^ch you ! You muft likewife now diftindtly per- 
ceive, what* you faid you were ignorant of before* } 
i. -What ^ 


•—What Wis that ? — ^The end, added (he, of all 
things i • for the end of all things is what they 
. purfue, and becaufe, as we have before Ihewn, 
this is good, we nnuft neceflarily hold it fts aa 
eftabliflied' truth, that good is the end of every 
thinff that exifts. 

With deep refearch, whofe ftudious Tiead explores 
Thy treafures, Truth, and anxious feeks to fhun 
Error's fallacious paths, let him aroufc 
His flumbering pow'rs, and turn their piercing 

Home on himfelf : the knowledge he purfues. 
And toils with fruitlefs fearch to find without^ , 
In the recefles of his mind deep-hid 
He'll trace delighted. Truth, divinely bright^ 
Error's bewildering mifl: will quick difperfe. 
And, powerful as the Sun's enliv'ning beam. 
Cheer and illume his breaft ; for when this frame 
Of cumbering clay involv'd the foul, and flied 
Oblivion o'er its powers, its heav'n-born light 
It damp'd, but quench'd not : principles of truth 
Still copious lurk'd within, till wak'd to life. 
They bloflbm by the cultivating hand 
Of foul-enlarging fcience, and bear fruit. / 
Were not, celcftial Truth, thy gen'rous feeds 
Implanted in the heart, ah ! how could man 
Diftinguifti wrong from right ? fay fbis is bafe. 
And worthy thai? Hence Plato, fage fublime. 




This maxim teaches: — ^'All our knowledge ftoWi 
*^ From recollection of forgotten truths *." 

am entirely^ faid J^ of Plato^s opinion* Toa 

have now a fecond time made me recoUedt truths 

that had wholly eibaped me } the remembrance 

of which was^obliterated^ firft^ by the contagious 

union of the body with the fou)^ and afterwards 

by the prefTure of s£ffli6tion under which I labour* 

ed.— Ifj faid fhe, you will relledt upon the con* 

cedlons you have already made^ you will foon 

bring to your remembrance a very important 

truth, of which you lately acknowledged yotir 

ignorance.— What, I befccch you, is that ? — The 

God go. ceconomy, replied fhe, or fecret fprings, by which 

Sivlrfe^y the uniyerfe is condufted, — With regard to that;, 

^g<^- I own I confefled my ignora/ice ; and although 

mheim I have fome idea of what you can fay upon the 

errudder. f^bj^^^ j ^\^ ^^ ^^ ^^^^e fully inftruaed in it 

from your own mouth. — Did you not acknowledge^ 
a little while ago, added (he, that there was not 
the fmalleft reafon to doubt, but that the world 

• It was Plato't o^inion^ that God at once created the fouls of all 
mankind, who were to live in all ages of the world \ that h^ diftribut^d 
^hem among the cdeftial rpheres^ and taught them the nature of all 
things. From this creation of the fouli of men before their bodiea , "■" 
Plato drew his opinion o^ remntfcence^ or, that allour acquired know- 
ledge proceeds only from remembrance : for if the foul exiiled before 
the body, and poiCei&d all manner of knowledge i itfollows, that all 
we learn through the cotirfe of our lives, is only the remembrance of 
what we had forgotten . Hence Socrates fays in the Bhadon \ ** that 
s* to learn, is no other than to remember what had been before for. 
« gotten." J 

3 was 1 



Was direfibed by the wifdom of God i I think fo 
ilill^ faid I| and I fhali never have any doubt of 
its and^ with your pertniffion^ I will explain to 
you the reafons that induce itK to be of thb 
i^inion. A worid, llich as this, donfifting of dif- 
ferent and difcordant elements, would never 
have afTumed its prefent form, unlefs there had 
been a wife Intelligence to unite and re- 
^kice^ them to order : and even after fuch m 
conjuniiStion, the jarring of fuch .oppofite 
materials would have difunited and ruined the 
beautiful fabrick made up of them^ had not 
the fanne Intelligence upheld what he bad ib 
admirably connedted. For undoubtedly, the 
Order that reigns through Nature could not 
proceed in fuch an eftablilhed courfe ; could not 
difplay fuch regular and uniform motions, with 
regard to places, times, the produ Aion of effedf» 
their duration and qualities, if there were not a 
Being to over-rule and dired this infinite varie^ 
of changes, without being liable to change him- , 
fclf: and (whatever he is, for he is above my 
comprehenfion) this Being, by whom all things 
are created, I call Gcd*^ a name given hina 
by all Rations. — -As your . fentiments upon thefe 
matters, faid fiie, are nowfojuft, there remains 
little more for me to do, than ta leave you 
to the enjoyment of your felicity, and ti;^ 
dilmifs you found . and liealthful into your ow^ 
country^ But let us firfl: examine a little fuv^ 



ther the principles we have eftabliflied. — Did we 
not place fufficiency. among the articles that con- 
stitute happincfs ? And have we not agreed tljat 
itrue Felicity is no other thing than God himfclf ? 
—•We have fo, faid I. — And does God, added flie, 
wane no afliftance from without, no foreign aid, 
in the governnaent of the univerfe ? Affuredly he 
-does not; otherwife he would not be fully fufficicnt 
in himfeif,— That, faid I^ neceflarily foUows^-^ 
Hedirefts therefore aH things by himfelf alone. 
—It muft be acknowledged he does, — But I have 
ihown you that God is the fupremc good,— -I 
remember very well, you did. — He muft therefore, 
^cmtinued fhe, diredt all things by good, fince he 
governs them by himfelf, whom we have proved 
to be the fupreme good. .This then is the helm 
or rudder by which the great machine of this 
world" is fteadily and fecurely conduced.— I am 
thoroughly fatisfied, ahfwered I, that it is ; and I 
had fome furmife, tho' but a flight one, of what 
you have now made clear to me.— I believe it, 
faid flie, for your faculties are much quicker in 
apprehending truth than they were. But what I 
am goin^ to add will contribute not a little to 
your difcovcring it more perfeftly.— What is 
that ?— As we believe, faid fhe, that God makes 
ufe of his goodnefs as a rudder to condud. this 
wonderful machine of Nature, and as I hare 
taught you, that all things which exift have a 
liarural tendency to goodi can there be any doubt, 




then, but that they all voluntarily fwbmit to his 
pleafurcj obey his nod, and give themfelves up 
without conftraint to the rule of his all-direfting 
hand ? This is neceffary, I anfwered ; for other- 
wife, things, inftead of being eftablifhed in 
concord and fecurity, would be in a ftate of 
difcord and confufion. — Is there any thing, 
which follows the diftates of Nature, that en- 
deavours to counteraft the will of God ? — No- 
thing certainly. — But Vas any thing to attempt 
this, what could it do againft him, whom we 
have proved to be fupremely happy, and con- 
fequently endowed with Almighty power? — 
Affuredly it could do nothing. — There is nothing 
then that has either inclination or power to refift 
this fupreme good? — I am perfuaded there is 
not. — It is this fupreme good then, faid flie, 
that alone rules all things by unbounded power, 
and condufts them with amazing benignity. The 
folidity of your arguments, faid I, and the force 
and beauty with which they are exprefled, tklight 
me fo much, and carry fuch ftrong convic- 
tion with them, that I am overwhelmed with 
fhame, that I ever objcfted to them. — ^You have 
read in the fable, added (he, of the giants ftorm- . 
ing heaven ; of the repulfe they met witlj 5 and 
how they were punifhed as they deferved. But 
may we not now try to ftrikc our arguments for 
a little while againft one another ? perhaps, from 
their collifion, fomc ufeful fpark of truth may 

K break 


break forth.— Do as you pleafe. — No perfon, you 
own, can doubc of the power of God extending 
over all things. — No man in his fenfes has any 
. doubt of it. — There h nothing then which God 
cannot do, as his power is unlimited. — Nothing. 
— Can God then do evil ?— No ; by no means.— 
Then evilmuft be nothing*, fince God cannot do 
it, who can do every thing. — Whilft you give me, 
faid I, fuch a wonderful idea of the myfterious 
circle of the Divine Felicity, you feem to fport 
with me, and to bewilder me in a perplex- 
ing maze. For you firft began with happinefs, 
and faid it was the fovereign goodi and that it 
refided jn the Supreme God, who was himfelf the 
fovereign good, and the perfeft Felicity ; whence, 
you inferred that no perfon could be happy unlefs 
he became likewife a God. You added, that good 
was made up of the fame fubftance whereof God 
and happinefs were compofed, and that it was 
the objeft and the defire of every thing in nature. 
You have alfo demonftrated that God governs the 
world by his goodnefs, as by a helm; that all 
things voluntarily obey him, and that evil has no 

* £pi6letus fays, as a mark is not fet up for the fake of raiding the 
aim, fo neither doth the nature of evil exift in the world. — Mrs. Carter 
illuftrates this very fenfibly in a note. Happrinefs, the efFe£l of virtue, 
fays die, is the noark which God hath fet up for us to aim at. Our 
mifling it, is no work of his ; nor fo properly any tiling real, as a mere 
negative and failure of our own. Carter^s Epi^etus. Enchiridion, 



cxiftencc. Thcfc truths you have eftabliflied, not 
by ftrained and far-fetched arguments, but by 
ftrong and natural reafons ; one proof conftantly 
leading to, and confirming another. — ^It was never 
my intention, replied fhe, to entertain you with 
dclufions. We have now, by the favour of God, 
executed the important work we propofed, when 
we invoked his affiftance : and I have made ' it 
clear to you, that it is a property effential to the 
Divine Nature, not to go out of itfelf, nor to ad- 
mit any thing extraneous to its nature. Par- 
men ides fays of the Deity, he is like to 4be 
round (^ a well-fotijhed ffbere. It is this Su- 
preme Intelligence, that moves the vaft fr^me 
of the univerfe to its remoteft circumference; 
whilft, he himfelf remains in the center, fixed, 
and immoveable. If in reafoning upon thefc 
matters I have rather chofen to draw my argu^ 
ments from the fubjeds themlelves, than to 
borrow them elfewhere, this ought not to fur- 
prize you, as you have learned from Plato, that 
there ought always to be a correfpondence, or to 
ufe his exprefilon*, a kind of alliance, betwixt the 
wprds, and the things cxprefled by them. 

Happy the mortal who difdains 
The bondage of terreftrial chains, 


^ This exprdfion is ufed in Plato^s Timseus. 

K 2 On 



On contemphtion's wings who fears. 
And goodnefs' radiant fource adopefs. 

For his loft brid#> confum'd with gricfi 
Orpheus from mufick fought relief; 
And pour'd forth fuch enchanting fong 
As drew the waving woods along : 
Attentive to his tale rf woe, 
Irhe rolling rivers-iceas'd to flow j 
The feather'd tribes their fongs forbear, j 

' His fweeter harmony to hear j 
Tam'd by the magick of his lyre. 
The favage race forego their ire j 
The lion> carelefs now of pr^y. 
Sees bounding Does around him play ; - , 
His rage fubdu'd, the timid hare 
Viewfi the keen hound without a fear. 

But vain was all his tuneful art; 
Love's fire ftill rages in his heart. 
Thofe numbers, which could all things tame, j 

Nothing allayed their maftePs flame* 

Th'C pow'rs above th' unhappy Bard 
Accus'd, as mcrcilefs and hard :— 
And mad with anguilh of his pain, . 
Defcends to Pluto's gloomy reign. 

His pulfe beats high, with nobler fire 
He fings, and ftrikes his golden lyre;— 
Exhaufting all th* harmonious art 
His mother whilom did impart. 
Each meltinfi captivating air,^ 
Taught him by love, and by defpair; 




Whilft the pQwers that rule below 
implore, in pity to his woe. 
To abrogate the fates' decree, 
An(i give him back Eurydlce. 

Heirs dreaded porter * ftood amaz*d 
At ftnuAS To fweet, and gap'd and gaz'd ; 
The furies, crown'd with fnakes, who tear 
And barrow guilty breads with fear. 
Now, firft relent;, ^nd pity know. 
And down the ;ears unwilling flow : 
A paufe of reft Ixion found ; 
His wheel ftops at the powerful found ; 
Whilft, Tityus, thy tormented brcaft 
To rend, the ravenous vulture ceas'd ; 
And Tantalus (his raging .flame 
Allay'd by fong) forgets the ftream. 

He fung J— the Bard's refiftlefs art 
Touched Pluto's unrelenting heart. 
J yield, fays hell's tremendous lord, 
I yield ; his bride Ihall be reftor'd. 
Shall re-afcend with him to life -, 
His fong has won him back his wife.— 
I grant her ;— but thcfe terms ordain. 
Till he efcapcs from our domain 
He fliall not ftop, nor turn his eye.— 
But ah ! — what terms^can lovers tie ? 
Unruly Love no compafts awe. 
His rapid will his only law. 


> \ 

♦ Cerberus, 






When now with toil the haplcfs pair 
Had well nigh reach'd the upper air. 
Poor Orpheus ! too, too weak of mind. 
Stops, turns, and. cads a look behind : 
He look'd— he faw— and was undone— 
His dearer life for ever gone. 

This tale inftruftive points to you, 
Whofe fouls the Good Supreme purfue. 
Ah ! — if deluded With the glare 
That thoughtlefs Vice and Folly wear, 
(Like Orpheus inipotent of mind) 
You caft a wifhful look behind ; 
You lofe, from heav'n vouchfaf'd, the ray 
To guide you to eternal day. 



1 "^ ' 


Boethius wonders why evil things ' happen to the 
goody and good things to the ^viL—r-Philo/ophy 
Jhoms him that the good only are powerful^ and 
the ivil impotent. •'-^'^That rewards are appoint^ 
edfor the' former y and punijhments for the latter. 
— — That the wicked whofuffer chaftifementy are 
happier than if they had been exempted from 
punifhment .^^ — ^hat it is better to fuffer an in- 
jury^ than to comniit one. Philofophy after- 
wards defines what Providence /Jr, and what Fate 

^ or Defiiny. — ^^She ^emonfirates that all fortune y 
whether profperous or ^act^wrfey i^ good. 

PHILOSOPHY, with ineffable grace and 
dignity, having poured forth thefe foft and 
enchanting drains ; I, not intirely difburthen- 
ed of the load of grief which had fo mifera- 
bly oppreffed me, interrupted her, as (he was 
continuing her difcourfe. How fhall I ex- 
prefs my gratitude to you, my only guide 
to the true light? All your difcourfcs have 
been full of comfort ; not only from the divine 

K .4 * teftimony 

,- ' 

why evil 

good, and 
things to 
the evil. 


teftimony they carry along with them, but from 
the irrefiftible arguments you have employed, irt 
eftablilhing the truths which they convey. From, 
the oppreffion of grief, thefe truths had elcaped 
my remembrance ; yet, as you obferved, I was not 
wholly ignorant of them. Would you have 
me declare to you the principal caufe of my 
trouble ? It is to behold evil prevail, and pafs \ 
unpunifhcd in a world, which is under the abfo- 
thingshap. folute direction of a Being who is goodnefs itfelf. 

pen to the - n • /1 • «k 

This, you mult own, is aftonilhing. But what 
ftih ftrikes me more is, that while Wickednefs 
flourifhes and prefcribes the law. Virtue is not 
only deprived of the reward (he merits, but is 
alfo trampled under foot by the baTe and profli- 
gate, and fufFers the punifhment due to impiety. 
You will furely agree with me, that it fumilhes 
matter for exhaufttefa wonder and compkint, that 
fuch things Ihould .happen i,: a fyftem condu<ffced 
by a Being all-knowing and all-powerful,, and 
who certainly wills npthing but what is the hefi. 
—Undoubtedly, replied fhe, it would be a matter 
not only -of infinite wonder, but it would be 
altogether abfurd and monftroiis, if in the well- 
regulated family of ib great a mafter, conxemp- 
tible veflels, as you fuppofe, ihould be efteemed 
precious, and precious veffels deemed contemp- 
tible. But this is not fo : for if the confequences 
we have drawn, from the principles laid down, 
are indifputablc, you will bt obliged to confefs, 

^ that 

- L . , ■■.*^^ 


that under tb* government of God, of ^hofe reign 
I now fpeak, the good are always powerful, and 
the evil, on the contrary, weak and contemptible ; 
that vice is always puniltied, and virtue conftant* 
ly rewarded ; that profperity is ever the lot of 
tiie good, and adverfity infeparable ffom the 
wicked, Thefe, and other comfortable truths 
of the like nature, which fllall be farther illuf- 
trated, will remove the caufe of your complaints, 
and reftore your courage and magnanimity.— 
Having formerly, my deareft pupil, exhibited to 
you apiSlure of true happinefs, and having Ihown 
you whefrfc fhe refides, and having premifed every 
thing neceffary for you to know, I Ihall now trace 
out the way that will lead you to your home. I will 
give your foul wings to foar alofl t6 tlie manfions 
on high J and, eafed of every earthly oppreflion, , 
you fhall, under my direftion, by my road, and 
with my vehicles, return fafe and healthful to 
your native country : 


For I can furnilh wings to rife 
From fordid earth, and mount the (kies : 
Tb* exulfing fouly upborn with tbe/e^ 
HcaVien's loftiefl: heights afcends with eafc. 
She flics, more rapid than the wind. 
And leaves the wandVing clouds behind ; . 
The gleaming meteors Ihc tranfcends ; 
Above the globe pf air afcends s 

• Then, 



Then, through the fiery region fprings. 
As lightning quick, with daring wings : 
Next to the planets' manfions foars. 
And their extended rounds explores ; 
With Phoebus, glorious fource of day ! 
She journeys in his radiant way : 
A foldier now with Mars ihe rides. 
Now chill with aged Saturn glides j 
She vifits ev'ry planet's dome, 
OVr all the zodiac pleas'd to roam. 

Perfifting in her daring flight. 
She foars to ftill a nobler height ; 
Afcends to heav'n's extremeft fphere. 
Nor interrupts her fwift career. 
Till fhe has reached the blifsful plains 
Of princes, where the Sovereign reigns i 
Where tjxe great Sire in ftate refides. ' 
And firm his winged chariot guides ; « 
With band unerring holds the rein. 
And rules the world's tumultuous fcenc. 
If thus with vent'rous wing you rife. 
And re-afcend your native fkies. 
Tracing your origin, you'll fay, 
" This is my country j here I'll ftay ; 
« I'll ne'er forego thcfe bleft abodes, ' 
" Thefe glorious manfions fit for gods." 
. And (hould you from thofe regions deign 
To throw your eyes to earth again, 
You'Jl pitying view the wretched fate ~ 
Of tyrants, thfon'd in fplendid ftate, 



Doom'd ne'er to reach thofe feats of blifs, 

Exird from 'God and happinefs ! . 

Ah ! faid I, your promifes afe great and delight- PWlofophy 

ful ; and I niake no doubt but you will fulfil thenq, die ^iod 

Let nne therefore intreat you, without delay, to powerfd, 

fatisfy the expeftations you have raifed.— -You »"<}?»« 

' ^ ' evil impo* 

muft firft be convinced, replied fhe, that the good tent, 
are always pofleffed of power; whilft the wicked 
are entirely deftitute of it. By proving to you 
the one aflertion, the other will appear plain : for 
fince good and evil are contrary, if good is power- 
ful, evil muft be impotent; and if the impotence 
of evil is perfpicuous, the ftrength and ftability 
of good muft be confeffed. But that your con-' 
virion of the propofition I have now aflerted, 
may be the more complete, I fhall proceed to 
prove it, from both thefe principles; eftablifhing 
the important truth, by argurpents drawn fome- 
times from one of thefe topicks, and fometimes 
from the other^ 

In men, twp things muft concur to produce an 
aftion ; the will, and the power. Both'the one 
and the other are fo neceffary, that if either of 
them fail, no efFe(5t can be produced. A man 
cannot do any thing without the concurrence of 
his will ; and the concurrence of his will is ufe- 
lefs, if he is deftitute of the power of accomplifli- 
ing his purpofe. Hence it is, that if yoii fee any 
perfon defirous of obtaining what he cannot pro- 


cure, you need not doubt but that he wants the 
power of obtaining it.— This is a matter fo dear, 
faid I, that it is impoffible to be denied.— And 
if you fee another perfon do what he wills, 
can you doubt that he had the power to do it i 
«— By no means.'— But a man is efteemed power* 
ful^ in refpeA of what he is ^able to doi- and 
weak, in relation to what he is unable to perform. 
—That, I acknowledge, is true. — Do you remem- 
ber^ faid (hc^ what I formerly proved, that the will 
of man, however different the objefts are which 
it purfues, hath no other end in view but hap- 
piiiefs. — I remember diftindly this .has been de* 
monftrated.«— But do you recollect, it has been 
ihown^ that happinefs is the fupreme ' good 
of man, and that there is not one who is not de- 
firous of this good, fince all purfue happinefs ?— 
No, I. cannot be faid to recolle6l it; for it has been 
fo firmly rivetted in my memory, that it is always 
prclcnt.-— AH men, therefore, faid ftie, the good 
as well as the bad, without diftindion, endeavour 
to acquire good. — Undoubtedly they do. — But 
is it not true likewiie, that men by obtaining good 
become good ?— It is an unqueftionable truth,— 
Do good men then Obtain what they defire ? — • I 
think they do. — ^But if evil men obtain the good, 
^ich they purfue, they can no longer be evil.— 
Thtj cannot, furely.'— Since then both the one 
and the other purfue good, which the good ordy 
acquire, it appears inconteftatde, that the good 



are powerful, and that the wicked arc impotsent.-^ 
None can doubt the truth of this> but fuch as either 
know not the differences of things, or are incapa- 
ble of con^prehending the force of any reafonhig* 
—Again, laid fhe. If there be two Beings, who 
have the fame end in view, and one of them ac- 
complifhes his purpofe by making ufe of natu«- 
ral n^ans, ^hilft the other has it not in his 
power to purfue that method, but follows a courfe 
not indicated by nature, and does not therefore at* 
tain his end, but only iniitates him who has aX*^ 
tained it j which of thefetwo, in your opinion, i$ 
the moft powerful ? — Altho^ I have fome idea of 
your meaning, faid I, I beg you would make it 
cltar by an example. — Yau cannot deny, then, 
that the/ motion of walking is natural to manf 
—I cannot. — Neither can you have any doubt, 
but that walking is the natural office of the feet ? 
— I can have no doubt about that.— If therefore 
a pcrfon who is able to ufe his feet, walks with 
them, whilft another, who. is deprived of this 
power, creeps upon his hands, and endeavours 
to imitate him who walks ; which of thefe per- 
fons do you think has the moft power ?— Go 
on, if you pleafe, faid 1 1 for no man can doubt, 
but that he who is in pofTeffion of his natural fa* 
culties, is more powerful than the perfon who is 
deprived of them.— But the fuprcme good, con-r 
tihued ftie, is the end which the good and bad have 
equally in view: now the good purfue this end in 

8 the 



the way pointed out by nature, by a courfe of vir- 
tue; whilft the bad ftrive to acquire this ineftima- 

. ble prize, by gratifying a variety^ of corrupt defires, 
which furely is not the natural way to procure it. 
Do you differ from me in opinion ?— No, anfwered 
I', the conclufion you have drawn is juft. But 
from what I formerly granted, the good muft ne- 
ceflarily be endowed with power, and the bad, on 
the contrary, deftitute of it. — You go before me, 

V faid (he, and have prevented me in the confer 
qucnce I was about to draw -, and it is a good fign, 
and gives hope to the phyfician, when Nature 
aflifts, when flie exerts herfelf, and refills the ma- 
lady. But as I fee you fo quick in apprehending 
my arguments, I (hall not fprcad and unfold them 
fe much, but (hall draw them up in a clofer form, 
•in what is to follow.— Behold^ then the great im- 
becillity of the wicked, who cannot even compafs 
the end to which their natural difpo(ition leads 
them, and to which they are in 4 great meafure, 
as it were, compelled ! But haw much greater 
would it have been, if Nature, which enlightens 
them, had^refufed an aid which is fo powerful, 
and almoK irrefiftible. Confider attentively, L 
pray you, tcf what extremity the impotence of fucji 
men is reduced. For they are not trifles -, they arc 
not frivt^lous prizes which they defire, and in vain 
purfue; but it is for the chief good, the moft 
eflfential of things, that they languifh j and 
though to obtain this, they labour night and 





day, yet they miferably fail of fuccefs j whilft the 
power of the virtuous, in acquiring this defirablc 
object, is eminent and indifputable. But tp re^ 
turn to our former illuftration : If a perfon who 
walks on foot, has gone fo far that he has no 
more country to traverfe, you efteem hini, very 
powerful in walking: you muft therefore cer- 
tainly allow that man to be extremely powerful, 
who has obtained the end of his wifhes, the pof- 
feflion of that good beyond which nothing is to 
be defired. As this is the cafe, it plainly follows j 
that the wicked are totally deftitutc of power. 
For why do they forfake virtue, and purfue vice ? 
Doth this behaviour proceed from their ignorance 
of good ? But is there a greater mark of weak- 
nefs than to be involved in the wretched dark- 
nefs of ignorance ? Or, do they know the road 
they ought to purfue, but afe led aftray from it 
by their paflions (as the luxurious, for inftance, by 
intemperance), bccaufe they have not firmnefs 

* • I 

enough to rcfift the temptation of vice ? Does 
not this alfo exhibit the higheft degree of weak- 
nefs ? Or, finally, do they knowingly and willingly 
give up with virtue, and rufh into widtednefs ? If 
they behave thus, they not only ceafe to be power- 
ful, but they even ceafe to exift : for Beings who 
negleft to purfue the end common to all things 
that exift, ceafe in reality to be. You are fur- 
prized, perhaps, to hear me affert, that the wicked^ 
who are the majority of the human race, have no 

cxiftence : 

144 boei:hius's consolation 

txiftence : nothing however is more true. That 
the wicked are bad^ I do not deny : but that 
:dicy can with propriety be faid to exift, is wha^ I 
wiU jfiM admit. You may call a carcafe a dead 
mao^ but you cannot call it properly a man; 
fo I grants that the vicious are profligate men ; 
fau^ thai they have a real exiftence^ I cannot ac- 
knowledge : for a thing exifts only ib long as it 
prefervcs its rank> its nature^ and conftitution ; 
but, when it lofes thefe, it ccafcs then to be, as 
it is deprived of what is eflential to its being. 
Bat you may alledge, that the wicked have cer-f 
tainly a power to aft. This, is what I will not 
conteflr. But this power is an cfFcft of weaknefs, 
not of ftrcngth. They can do evil, that is true ; 
hut this they could not ^o, if they had retained 
the power of doing good ; and their capacity to 
do evil, demonftr^tes ftill more evidently that 
they can do nothing. For fince evil, as we have 
before proved, is nothing * ; it is therefore clear, 
that while the wicked can do evil only, they can 
do iiOthing.--^This, faid I, is abundantly perfpi- 
cuous. -^ That you may comprehend where- 
in confifts the excellence of this power with 
which the virtuous are endowed, you ought to 
recolleft, what was fo lately made evident, that 
nothing is more powerful than the fovercigri good* 
•^This, I told her, I remembered.— rgut can the 
fovercign good, faid ihe, do evil ?-^No furely, 

•Page J 30. 

^ It 


it cannot.-^ And can any perfon think that men can 
do ail things ?-*No man in his fenfes can think 
lb.— But men may, do evil, — Devoutly do I wilh 
they could not.— Since then, continued fhe, he 
who can do good, can do every thing j but he 
who can do evil only, has not this defirablc 
powers it is manifeft, that fuch as can do evil^ 
have lefs power than they that can do good. 
To this let nnie add, what, has been formerly 
proved, that poWer is of the number of the 
things to be defired;' and that all things de- 
firable have a relation to that good, which 
conftitutes the perfection of our nature. But . 
the power of committing wick^dnefs can have 
no relation to that good, therefore it is not to 
be defiredj but as all power is defirable, if is 
evident that the liberty to do evil. is noS real 
power. JFrom the whole of this reaforiing, it 
clearly follows, that the good only . ar^, endpwed 
with power; whilft weaknefs, nay entire impo- 
tence, is what alone falls to the (hare of the wick- 
ed. The opinion of Plato is hereby alfo verified, 
that the wife only have the power to do whac 
theydefire*: the wicked may indeed do what 


• This opinion of Plato is taken from the Gorgias.— In which 
Socrates fays to Polus — " I maintain, O Polus, that the orators and 
«« the tyrants, as I told you formerly, poffelfed in their cities bat a very 
«« circumfcribed power 5 for they did nothing, fo tofpeak, which they 
«« wcredcfirous to perform, although they did what appeared btfi to 
** them in their own opinion.*^ 

L ^*^ 


dieir wajrward fancitts diAitc, but can by. no 
means accomplish chcir dtfircsb They infay ftrive 
to gratify their paffioin^ • m view to proclire tA 
thenrtftlvles the good *?hich tl^ey wilhj but th^ 
jgood they cannot poffibly acquire^ becaafe im- 
piety and vibe can neVer conduSfc eo happintis# 

Monarchs with wonder we beholdj 
With dazzling diadenis crowned. 

Shining with purple and with gold. 
With iguards encircled round, 

Exalted 6n their loft^ thronfes, 
With ^oundfers powtr date, 
' They bend the woi^ld Wheath'thar^froWns, 
And what they will is fitc. 

Coold wie their hidden breafb explore^ . 

Where i^ftlefs paflions rend, ' . 

Deceived ^ith glaring pomp no more^ 

Soon W6^1d our wonder end. 

For ah 1— •i;hefe lords of human kind 

Are captives led at. will. 
Of headftrong tryancs fierce and blind. 

That lord it o*er them ftlll. 

Plato proves Hkewife in the f^me treatife. and in bis Alcibiadet, 
l^tnat the wicked are' not endowed with power ; tha^ it i s better fo fuffer 
^an Injury than to coinmit oiie ; that'&e good and the' wile are alone 

happy i that -the wicked are ilWays miferablei but that they are ftill 

more fo, if they efcape unpuniflied. 

' Ail ihe above-tncfntioned poiiHs ISokhiUi hlindles diid dlfeufl^s ia 

thj« ivth Book, very ingeniouily and actt^Ty. 



Luft, vcnom'dfourcc'oiFfaul deficcs, 

Inflannrcs their madden'd fouls 5 
Here Malice lights his vengeful fires. 

Here ]^age his billows rolls : 

For more, here rejftlefs AvVice craves ; 

Here Envy ftiqgs the heart ; 
Succefslefs Hope here loudly raves. 

And leaves a galling fmart. 

With tortVlng inmates thus diftreft, 

Why envy we the great ?— 
Deprived of freedom, void of reft. 

How wretched is their ftate 1 

Do you not then perceive, continued ihe, Rewards 
with what infamy vice is difgraced and fullied i pointed for 
and with what a luftrc virtue beams forth ? ^d^^' 
This is a certain proof that the good never gQ n»flf»m«nt$ 
unrewarded, and that the bad never efcap^^ wicked, 
oyt puniihmeot : for in whatever a perfon does, 
^e propofes to himfelf an pnd, and that end 15 
in reality the reward he purfues. Thus they wh9 
jenter.the lifts, and engage in the race, have for 
their end the crown, which is the prize cqor 
tended for. But we have already &own that 
happinels is the good fought after, as the encjl 
of all that a man does. All the human race 
therefore propofe to themfelves the fame gQod> 
as the jeward of their actions. Now this gop^ 

L 2 is 


IS infcparable from the virtuous, fince no per- 
fon can properly be called virtuous who is 
deftitute of it ; confequently, virtue can never 
want its reward. Let the wicked then rage 
as much as they pleafe againft the wife man, 
they fhall never be able to deprive hini of 
his crowh, nor to blaft it upon his head ; 
for the wickedncfs of another can never tatnifh 
that inherent liiftre which .is natural to virtue. 
If a man hugs himfclf in the pofleffion of. any 
advantage which he has received from another, 
he pnay be ftript of it, either by the perfon who 
beftbwed it upon him, or by others. But as* 
the reward of the virtuous is derived from virtue 
alone, a man cannot lofe this reward, unlefs.he 

. ceafes to be virtuous. Finally ; fince a reward 
is deCfed, becaufe it is fuppofcd to be a good^ 

■ tan we fuppofe, that he wjio poffeffes the good 

. itfelf is deprived of the recompence ? But what 
reward does he enjoy ? The faireft, certainly, and 

' the ric5heft of all recompences. Recall to your 
memory the excellent corollary which I formerly 
deduded;, and attend to what flows from it. As 
the fupreme good is happinefs, it follows, that 
all good men, for the very reafon that they are 
good, become happy j but if they are happy, 
thcy'muft of neceflity alfo become Gods. Thus 
divinity is the recompence of the good j a reward 
which ho time can impair, nd power can diminifh, 
no wickednefs can obfcure. As matters are thti^ 




conftituted, no wife man can entertain a doubt, 
but that punifliment likcwife is infcparable from 
the wicked : for good being as oppofite to evil, 
as punifhment is to reward; it is apparent, that if 
there be a recompence for good, there muft, on 
the contrary, be a chaftifement for evil: and as 
the reward of the virtuous is virtue herfclf, fo 
vice is the punifhment of the vicious. But who- 
ever is chaftifed with a*punifhment, acknowledges ^ 
that he is afflided with an > evil. If therefore the 
wicked did rightly underftand themfelves, they 
would never fuppofe that they are exempted from 
punifhment, when vice, the worfl of all evils, not 
only afflifts them, but pollutes and entirely de^ 
praves them. But let us contemplate the punifh- 
ment of the wicked, as it (lands in oppofition to 
the reward of the good. You have been taught 
lately by me*, that every thing which exifls prc- 
ferves the unity which conflitutes its being, and 
that every thing which preferves this, is good ; 
confeqgently, pvery thing which exifls muft alfo 
appear to be good. Hence it again follows, that 
every thing which ftrays from what is good, 
ceafes to be : the wicked therefore muft ceafe to 

, be what they were : but that they were formerly 
meni their human fliape, which ftill remains, tef- 
tifies. By degenerating into wickednefs, then, 

, they muft ceafe to be men. . But as virtue alone 


♦ Pages 119, lao. 

1-3 ^«» 


can exalt a man above what is human ; fo it is 
on the contrary evident, that vice, as it divefts 
him of his nature, muft fink him below humani* 
ty : you ought therefore by no means to con- 
fider him as a man whom vice has rendered 
vicious. Tell me— What difference is there be- 
twixt a wolf * who lives by rapine, and a robber, 
whom the defire of another's wealth ftimulates 
to commit all manner of violence ? Is there any 
thing that bears a flronger refemblance to a 
wrathful dog who barks at paiTengers, than a 
man whofe dangerous tongue attacks all the 
world ? What is liker to a fox, than a cheats 
who fpreads his fnares in fecret to undermine and 
ruin you? to a lion, than a furious man, who 
is always ready to devour you ? to a deer, than 
, a coward, who is afraid of his own fhadow ? to 
an afs, than a mortal, who is flow, dull, and in- 
dolent ? to the birds of the air, than a man 
volatile and inconftant? and what, in fine, is a 
debauchee, who is immerfed in the lowcil fen- 
fual grati6cations, but a hog who wallows in 
the mire ? Upon the whole, it is an unquef- 

* Thus Epi£letus in Arrian : By means of this animal kindred, 
fome of us, deviating tqwards it> becdhie like wolves, faithlefs, in- 
iidious, and mifchievous $ others, like lions, wild, aild ftvsge, and un- 
tamed } bnt moft of us foxes, and wretches even among Wntes i for 
what elfe is a (landerous and ill-natured man, than « fox, or fome- 

I 4 

thing yet more wretched and mean ? See then and take heeld tl^t you 
do not become fuch wretches. 

Mrs, Carter's Tnmflationi B. I. ch. iii. fed. s. 



tionable truth, that ^ man who forfi^ces virtue, 
ceafes to be a pfian j a|i4 »s it is impofr?t>le that 
he can afcend in the- fcalp pf bpipgs, he nf>uft of 
neceflity degenerate auid link into a bcji(|« 

Ulyffes* wandering fails, lon^ tcfft 
By ftcfrms, arri v'd on that fam^d poaft 
Where, offspring of the god pf day, 
^ Circe the fair bears fovercign fway. 

The dame the wandVers entertains 
With magic draughts and foothing ftrainss 
Changed by her wonder-working hand. 
Which wide o'er nature bears command, 
Ulyffes* niates, her w:ondVing guells. 
The faces wear and forms of beafts ;-<« 
The lion's awful form and roar 
While one afTumes, one grunts a boar i 
Changed to a wo}f, while this lamepts 
His fate,— in bowls he pours his plaints i 
Whilft that a tyger*s afpeft wears. 
But mild and void of rage appears* 

Tb* Arcadian god * no fooner found 
His hero in her fetters bound. 
But ftrait he breaks her potent charm. 
And fets Ulyflcs free from harm. 
But ah 1 the fage's headlong crevy 
Their treacherous bev'rage ftill renew, 
TjU, turn'd to fwine, they chfnge their food. 
And ;'oam for acorns. in the wood : 

• MercMfy. 

L 4 Of 




Of man's fair form and fpeech bereft. 
No frace of fornncr likenefs left, 
The'ir fouls unaltcr'd 'wail their fate, 
Ba(e brutal forms to animate. 
But weak the power in herbs that dwells ; 
Bounded the dame's enchanting fpells j 
O'er inatter tho* their force prevails. 
To change the heav'n-born foul it falls j 
Entire femains th' immortal part, 
Beyohd the reach of magic art. 

More potent Vice, and full of harms. 
More to be fear'd than Circe's charms $ 
Her poffon queqches Reafon's ray. 
And fteals the nl|n entire away ; 
SinlTs'h'im to brute in heart and head— 
The human form unaltered. 


I agree with you, faid I, and acknowledge that 
the Ticious are not unjuftly called beafts ; for 
though tkey preferve the human form, with re* 
gard to the faculties of the foul they are really 
metamorphofed into brutes. But I heartily wifli 
that their wicked and ferocious minds, which 
burn with rage to annoy the good, had not t|ie 
power of hurting them.-— The wicked have no 
fuch power, replied fhe, as I ihall fhow you in a 
Jittle time.' But if this power, which they ar$ 
fuppofed to have, and of which you fo heavily 
complain, were taken from them, they would be 
relieved of the greajcft part of their punifhment : 



for certain it is, though it may appear incredi-^" 
ble to many, that the wicked are more unhappy 
when they can accomplifti their evil defigns, than 
when they want the power to perpetrate them: 
becaule,' if it is an unhappincfs to will evil, it 
is ftill a. greater to have the power to execute it ; 
for, if bad men were divefted of this power, their 
wicked dcfires would languifh without effedt. 
Since mifery, then, is annexed to the will, and to 
the power of doing evil, and alfo to the accom- 
pliftiment of it, it neccflarily follows, that they 
who have the will and the power to do evil, and 
who aftually commit it, are trebly miferable.— 
This I muft confefs, faid I ; but at the fame time 
I earneftly wifh that the wicked were fpeedily de- 
livered from this mifery; I mean, that they were 
deprived of tlie power of doing hurt. — They (hall 
be ftript of this power, added flie, fooner perhaps 
than you would wilh, or than they themfelvcs 
imagine: for there is nothing that glides away 
in the narrow bounds of human life, however 
flow ahd imperceptible its progrefs may be, which 
to an immortal foul can appear to have a very 
long duration. The moft flattering hopes of the 
wicked, the lofty edifices of thein criminal pro- 
jefts, are often overturned by unforefcen acci- 
dents. But the fubverfion of thefe puts a flop 
to the progrefs of their mifery; for this good 
reafon, that if wickednefs renders a man mifer- 
able. he mufl: become more and more fo the 




longer he continues Mrickcd; and fuch pcrfbns 
I fboiald believe to be infinitely miferable, if de^th 
did not conr^e and put a period to their wickedr 
nels : for if the confequence I have drawn from 
the unhappinefs of the wicked is tnie^ it is evi-r 
fitnt^ that a nnifery which is eternal^ is nothing 
Icfs than an infinite mifery.— This confequence, 
faicl I, appears to me wonderful, and difficult to 
be aflented to; neverthelefs I muft own that it is 
pcrfeftly conformable to what has been eft^blilh- 
ed. You think juftly, replied fliej becaufe h? 
Hi^ho efteems it difficult to aflent to a conclufion, 
ought either to (bow that the premifes arefalfc, 
pr that the confequence is unfairly drawn i for if 
the premifes are eftablifhed, and the conclufioa 
fairly deduced, he can have no reafon to rejeft it. . 
Tiiewick- pgt what I am now going to communicate to 
ferchaftifc- you IS not Icfs furpHzing, though it neceffarily 
Wie^* f^o^^ from the fame premifes.— What is that I 
dian if they pj-^y ? — jhat the wickcd, who fufFer the chaftife- 

bad been *^ , ^ 

exempted fnent which they merit> are happier than they 
sXJeAt. would have been, if juftice had allowed their 
crimes to have efcaped unpunifbed. To convince 
you of this, I will not confine myfelf to common 
and popular arguments; that punifhment cor- 
xe^s bad morals ; that the fear of chaftifement 
ieads back to the right w?jr ; and that the fuf-- 
ferings of the wicked deter from vfce : but, leav- 
ing thefe things entirely out of the queftion, I 
am pcrfuadcd that the wicked, whofe crimes re*- 




main UDpimiAed^ become much more unhappy 
IB another way.^^-In what way do y oa mean f^— • 
Haire we not ^reed^ added fhe, chat the goo4 
ore happy, and the wicked mifcrable ?-^Wc have* 
— ;fiut if you mix fqme good with the mifery of 
a man, will not he be more happy than another 
whofe mifery is pure, entire, aad without any 
mixture of good ? — Certainly he wilL-— Again— - 
If the unhappineft of the latter, who is deprived 
of every good, is cncreafed by additional n^ifery^ 
does he not become much more wretched than 
he whofe diftrefs is. allayed by the participation 
of fome good ? — Unqueftic^ably he does.-~Tli^ 
wicked, then, continued fee, even when they an? 
punifeed,^ have a degree of good annexed to their 
condition, to wit, the punifemcnt itfelf, which 
cannot be an evil, becaufe it is juft ; and, on the 
contrary, when they efcape punifliment, their 
mifery is encreafed by another evil, which is this 
very exemption from punifement : for did not 
,you yourfelf confefe, that this exemption was an 
evil ? — I own I did. — The wicked, then, feid fee, ' 
are much nnorc unhappy when they enjoy an un- 
merited impunity, tlian when they fuffer a, chaf- 
tifement which they deferve: but that it is 
juft to pjunife the wicked, and unjuft that they 
feould efcape with in^unity, is a truth which 
cannot be denied, — Nobody, faid I, denies it,— 
Nor can any man deny, added fee, but that every 
thing, which is juft, is good i and that, on the 





contrary, every thing which is unjuft, is evil.— 
Thisj faid I, neceffarily follows, from the conclu- 
lions formerly deduced. But tell me, I befeech 
you; Is there any puniftiment for fouls after 
death? — Undoubtedly, replied Ihe; and great 
ones too. I am of opinion, however, that they 
^re inflifted for different purpofes j fome with 
rigour to punifh *, and others with clemency to 
purify and meliorate. But it is not my defign 
at prefent to enlarge upon this fubjeft. I have 
been employed hitherto in proving that the 
power of the wicked, which appeared to you the 
taoft (hamefiil thing in the univerfe, is, in reality, 
nothing ; that their wickednefs never efcapes urf- 


. • Commentators imagine that Boethius here acknovirledges« not 
only as a chriftian, but a catholick, that fome wicked men are con- 
demned to eternal punifhments ; whilft others, whofe wickednefs is 
not Ui great, are purified and refined by fufferings. But, as it is 
Fhilof(^hy who is made to deliver her opinion, it is more probable 
that (he here exprefTes the fentiments of the Platonifts or of the Py« 
thagoreansi which were, that the fouls of feme perfons were fo im« 
l^ious, that they could not be cleanfed from their pollution by atiy 
purgation whatever, and that they were therefore condemned to eter* 
nal punifhments ; but that others, whofe crimes were not fo heinous* 
after undergoing a variety of fufferings, were admitted to the plea- 
fiires of elyiium. Thus Virgil, in his 6th Eneid } 

i)rgo exercentur poenis, vcterumque malorupfi 
Supplicia ex(>endunt ; alis panduntur inanes 
_ - Sufpenfae ad ventos \ aliae fub gurgite vaflo 
Infe6lum cluitur fcelus, aut exuritur igni \ 
Quifque fuos patimur manes ; exinde per amplum 
1 ^ttimur j^lyfium, et pauci Iseta arva tenemus. 



punifhed, notwithftanding the difagreeablc idei 
you entertained to the contrary : that their liberty 
to do evil, which you wifhed might foon come to 
an end, is not of long duration : that the longer 
it continues, they are fo much the more mifera- 
ble i and that if it were to continue for ever^ 
their thikry would be infinite: that, in fine, if 
the wicked efcaped by an unjuft exemption from 
punifliment, they would be more unhappy than* 
if they werechaftifed according to their demerits ; 
and confcquently, that they are never more ri- 
goroufly puniflicd, than when they are fuppof^d 
not to fuffer for their crimes.*— I have attended 
carefully to your reafoning, faid I, and it appears 
to me convincing and* conclufive : but if I were 
to take the opinions of mankind upon thefe 
fubjefts, your arguments would be fo far from 
gaining their affent, that it would be difficult to 
find a perfon that would liften to them. — I am of 
your opinion, replied (he : for mankind are fo 
accuftomed to darkhefs, that they cannot fix their 

. The relicks of inveterate vice they wear. 
And fpott of fin obfcene in every face appear | 
For this arc various penances enjoin'd^ 
And fome are hung to bleach upon the wind $ 
Some plung'd in waters, others purged in fires. 
Till all the dregs are drainM, and all the ruft expires $ 
All have their manes, and thofe manet bear $ 
The few, fo cleansed, to the abodes repair, 
And Sreathe in an^ple fields the foft elyfian air* 


4 i>a 


"* s, eyes 


eyes upon the light of a truth which dazzles chenu 
They are like thofe birds chat fee clearly bf 
lught, but whofe weak fight cannot bear the 
^lender of day : whilft they pay no regard to the 
eCtabliflied order of thing^j but conTider only xh^ 
gratification of their own pa(Son$ ; it is not won<» 
derful, that they ihoold think there is a happine(f 
in the liberty of doing evil^ and in exennptioa 
from punUhment. — Bu<: as to you, my pupils do 
you attend to the law, which is engraved up(»i 
your own heart ^. If yop conform your mind to 
what is good, you need not be anxious about ^ 
neward from ^hc hand of a judge }— you have 
by your bphaviour become one x)f the moft excel** 
lent of hfjman kind. But if yau porfue evil, yov 

** The true kw, fays Cfcero, is right realbn, conformable to the na<* 
tire of things ; xvnftant^ eteratJ^ diifufed chro^ all i whicb calls us to 
- ^ diitf by comnMndii^, deters vs from iin by forbidding ; which neiEer 
Wes its influence with the goody nor ever preferves it with the wicked* 
This cannot poflibly be over-ruled by any other law, nor abrogated in 
thewhole, or in port ; nor can we be absolved from it» ei^r by the 
ftl»le<or^y fhe people ; -nor pre we to feek a^y p^ier cqmineot or inter* 
preter of it, but itfelf ; nor can there b^ one law at Rome, another at 
Athens j one now, another hereafter | but the fame etemali immutable 
law comprehends all nations^ at all times, under one common mafter 
and governor of all, God. He is the inventor, propounder, ena£ler 
of the law $ 'and vidioever will not obey it, muft fMlrenounce htmfelf 
and throw off the nature of man : by doing which, he will, fuifer the 
greateft puniflimeitt, tho^ he ihould efcape all the other torments which 
are commonly iielieved to be prepared for die wicked. 

Fragment xjf Cicero from 'Book Iff. of his 'Republidc, in 
jLLa^ant^us. Tranflated by Dr. Middleton.— Life of Cicero» 

^ 'Tol.'ili. p. 35r, 351. 

TfaM-^alttiAb-fragment of Cicero is in excellent defcription of con« 
iciencei or the moral fenfe* 




becd iio other chaftifement j — ^you have degraded 
yourfelf into a lower order of beingf. Thus % 
if With a fixed atcentiotij and hani&ed every 
thought befides^ you contemplate alternately the 
fiidiant heaven, and fordid earth; by the very 
niturc of vifion, you will now fuppofc your&lf 
iexaltcd to the ftars^ and anon involved iii the 
cliiy.-^I know that the vulgar, continued Ihci, 
do not refltft upon thefe things. What then ? 
fhall we take tliem as nriodeh, wbooi before we 
affirmed to refemble the beafts ? If a peifon de*- 
|)rived of fight, and who had even forgot that he 
-ever bad it, fliould ailert that he has every humifti 
faculty in perfedtionj ibould we be fo weak>aa 
to believe, that fuch as retain the ufe of their 
eyes were become blind ? £ut as the vulgar rejedl: 
all the foregoing reafoning, they will alfo refufe 
thetr aflent to what I am now going to prqpofib 
tho' it is fupported by ai^uments equally ftrong 
and conclusive ; to wit, that perfons who commit 
an injury are more unhappy than thoie who iuffer 
one.— I am extremely defirous, (aid I, to hearyou 
prove this point. — Do you deny, replied (he, that 
every widced man deferves puniftiment ?— No, I 
do not.*— And you are fatisficd, from a g;reat va- 
riety of proofs, that the wicked are mifcrable ?— ^' 
Unqueftionably they.are*— Again :— You btiveno 
doubt but that every man who merits punHhment 
is mifcrable ?— To this I agree.— But if you were 

3 afpmied 



appointed a judge, on which of the two would 
you inflift puniflbmenti on him who hath com- 
mitted, or on him who hath fuffercd the injury ? 
'^—r would not hefitate a moment in punifliing the 
bffender, in reparation of the injury done to the 
party offended.— But ftill you would reckon the 
injuring perfon more unhappy than he who had 
•fuffered the wrong ? — I certainly would^-^Thus 
then, added fhe, for thefe reafons, and for others 
which flow from the fame principle, that vice, 
from the bafenefs of its nature, renders mjcn 
It 18 better miferablc; it* is evident, that when an injury is 
injury, ^ -done to. any man, it is the caufe of mifery to the 
^JJ^^ ^oer *, t^t not to the fi>fferer. But our plead- 
•>*^» ersatthe bar, continued fhe, are of a different 

<)pinion, as they ftrive to excite the compafllon 
of the judges in favour of thofc; who have fuffered 
•cruelty and opprelTion, whereas pity is more juft- 
ly due to the oppreffors ; who ought therefore to 
•be cpndufted to judgment, as the fick are to the 
phyfician, not by angry, but by friendly and com- 
paflionate accufers, that they may be cured of 

^ • It is fio paradox to fay, that by nature man b gentle, and focial, 
and faithful.— Hew then is it a parodox ta fay, that when he is whipt, 
or imprifoned, or beheaded, he is not hurt ? If he fuffers nobly, doth not 
he come off even the better, and a gainer ? But he is thp perfon hurt, 
*who fuflfcrs the Tnbft miferable and (hameful evils, who inflead of a 
man, becomes a wolf, a viper, or a hornet. 

Mrs. Carter's Arrlan, B. IV. c, i. f. 13. 




their vices by the phyfick of chaftifcmcnt. I 
am, therefore, of opinion, that no pleaders ought 
to be employed to defend the guilty. I either 
wilh them to relinquifh it altogether, or to join 
the party of the accufers ; for I cannot difcover 
how they may be ufeful in any other way. 
Were it poflible for the wicked to obtain a 
flight view of the charms of that virtue which 
they have forfaken ; and could they but perfuade 
themfelves, tha^t, by paffing through the difcipline 
of chaftifement, they (hould be purified from the 
ftains of vice, and reftored to virtue i they furely 
would not confider the difcipline as an evil, neither 
would they implore the afBflance of an advocate 
to defend them; but, without htfitation, they 
would fubmit themfelves to the will of their 
judges and their accufers. Hence it is the 
wife are not fufceptible of haitred : for none but 
a madman hates the good ; and to hate the wicked 
is fully as irrational ; for their propenfity tq vice 
is really as much a difeafe of the mind, as any of 
the ordinary human diftempers is of the body. 
Now as a perfon fuffering under a difeafe is not an 
objeft of refentment, but claims our compaflion i 
we have ftill more reafon to pity, and not to hate 
thofe unhappy perfons over whom vice, the moft 
deplorable of all diftempers^ has gained the 

M Deluded 



Deluded men, your brcaftg inrhat (retizm fway, 
With impious hand to cut life's brittle thread i 

If de^th you wifti, intent to feize his prey, 
Dq^th ce^elefs urges on. his rapid fteed. 

To favage beafts a helplefr prey exposed. 
To lions, tygers, and the foaming boar ; 

With deadly ills on.every fide ioclos'd. 

Your fwords w.hy ftain you in your own warm 
gore? * 


What demon drives you, thp' you differ wide * 

In mannersj and in judgment difagree. 
Headlong to plunge in war's tumultuous tidie, 
' Anji furioys urge each other's deftihy ? 


Ye^grpatly erf — your feuds qOmpofe, 4nd ceafc; 
- Ceafej favage men, tp riot thus in blood: 
To merit give its due ; delight ia peace i 
Pity, the wicked, and revere thegopd. 

Here I interpofed, and f^ud, I now plainly 
perceive the nature of that happinefs and of that 
mifery which are eflenti^Uly and infeparably an-> 
a^cxed to the virtues and tlie vices of the de- 
fcrving and the bafe. But in this fortune, in which 
the vulgar put fuch a value, I clearly difcover a 
' mixture of good and evil : for ho wife man 
ever preferred exile, indigence, and ignominy, to 
the poffeflion of riches, honour, and power, and 






to . the happlncfs ' of living with 'eftccm in the 
bofom of his own country: and wifdom rean)r 
fhines with a greater luftre when her votaries arc 
at the head of a ftate, and communicate their 
happy influence to the people under their di- 
reftionj and particularly, when imprifoniiient, 
tortures, and the other puniftimchts orcjaincd by 
the laws, are employed only for the chaftifement 
of bad citizeris, for whom they were at firft 
inftituted. Why then fliould things undergo fo 
unnatui'al a change ? Why fhould the worthy fufFer Bocthiu$ 
the punilhment due to crimes, and the profligate compUini 
rob the virtuous of their rewards ? I am greatly that p«- 
amazed at thefe irregularities, and I am extremely worwT 
defirous to learn from you the reafbn of fo unji^ft 
a diftribution, I Ihould be indeed lefs furprizfefd, 
if I could perfuade myfelf that chance had the 
direftion, and was the caufe of all this confufion 
in the univerfe. But I am overwhelmed with 
aftonilhment when I rcfleft, it is God that di- 
refts all events; and though he often beftows 
defirable things upon the good, and inflidts 
things grievous upon the wicked} yet, on the 
contrai'y, he frequently afflifls the good, and dif- 
penfes to the wicked all that they wifii. So that 
I cannot comprehend, unlefs you explain it to 
me, what difi^erence there is betwixt the cflfeds 
of his providence, and the operations of blind 
Fortune.— -It is not ^t all furprizing, replied fhe, 
•as you do nbt know therein the order eftablifhed 

Ma in 




in the univerfe confiils^ that you fhould imagine 
you fee irregularities in it| and things done with- 
out defign: but though you b^ ignorant of the 
rcafon of fo excellent an orders never entertain a 
doubt, whilfl: a good governor prefides over the 
world, but every thing is rightly conduced, and 
as it ought to be. 

Round the pole, in fair array. 

Circulates the Bear his way i 

Slow Bootes drives his wain 

Nightly o'er th' etheriaj plain. 

And his courfe compleated nigh, . . ^ 

Dips a while in nether fky : 

Stare the crowd, and drive to guefs 

The caufc of thefe appearances ! 

Cynthia's orb at full, grows pale. 
Shadows dark her difk aflail ; 
Stars, her fplendor hid before. 
Stud the heav'n's wide concave o'er -, 
Struck the vulgar wfch alarms ! 
Labouring moon to free from charms. 
Rend with founding brafs the air- 
Weary heav*n with ceafelcfs pray'r. 

None admire when Boreas raves. 
And the tempefts raife the waves j 
Wonder none, when Sol's warm ray 
Melts the hills of fnow away ! 
Open here the caufcs lie, 
Perfpicuous to every eye 5 




Things whofc caufcs are not plain, 
Ve3|: and difcompofc the brain j 
Each appearance rare or new, # 

Grov*ling nninds with terror view. 

Sloth unthinking drive away. 
Illume the mind with fcicnce' ray; 
Fear and wonder foon will ceafe. 
And man poflefs his foul in peace. 

We ought undoubtedly, faid I, to banilh floth, 
and ftrive to increafe in knowledge. But as 
it belongs to you to difcover the moft fccret 
caufes, and to unveil things wrapt up in dark- 
fiefs, 1 befeech you to deliver me from my pre- 
fent perplexity, and to explain the myftery I men- 
tioned to you •—You propofe to me, replied fhe 
with a fmile, the moft intricate of all queftions^ 
which I am afraid all our arguments will not be 
fufficient to folve : for the fubjeft is of fuch a 
nature, that when we have lopped pfF one diffi* 
culty, like the heads of the hydra, innumerable 
others immediately fpringupj fothat there would 
be no end of them, did we not feize and quell 
thefe growing doubts by a quick and vigorous 
eflFort of the mind. The queftipn then, whereof 
you want a folution, is involved in the five follow- 
ing points, which it will be neceflary to illuf- 
trate: i. The fimplicity or unity of Provi- 
dence, a. The order and chain of Deftiny. 3. Un- 
expefted events attributed to chance. 4. The 

M 3 prcfciencc 


prefciencc of God and divine . predcftination. 
5. 'Xkc liberty of th^ human will. — ^You are un- 
doubtedly fenfible that thcfe arc very arduous 
and perplexing fubjefts : but as a knowledge 
of them is 9 part of the medicine I propofed 
for your cure, and, will contribute much to itj 
I ihall employ the ibort time that remains to 
me, in giving yqu fome light and information 
of thefe particulars. Whilft I puffue, in a con- 
nefted chain, .that train of reafbning which the 
fubjed fuggcfts, I (hall deprive you of th^ ple^- 
fure you receive from the harmony of my verfes- 
-^Do ^as you ple^fe, with regard to that.— She 
then rpfumcd her difcourfe> as it were, from a 
new fource of topicks> and argued as follows. 

The produftion of all things, the renewal. and 

gradual progre/Uon of whatever is liable to 

change 5 every thing, in a word, that is moved, 

derives its c^ufcs, order, l^ld forins, from the 

immutability of the divine undcrftanding. No>y, 

the divine undcrftanding, tho' fingle^ and in itfelf 

uncompounded, employs a variety of means or 

inftruments for condufting the aflFairs of the uni- 

Phiiofophy ycrfc. Thcfc mcaos, when we confider them 

what Pro- Only as they cxift in the divine Intelligence, are 

vidcncc is, "v^rhat we call Providence * -, but when contemplat- 

and what * 

Fate or • Boeihius fpeaks here as a metaphyrician^with regard to the diviae 

i;eitiny. Providence, which the heathens reprefcnted under the figure of a 

Koman'Iady, who held a fbepter in her one hand, and Teemed to point 

with it, to a globe. placed at her feet i intimating thereby that flie go- 

>trnf d the world, as a good mother of a family. 



.ed> inrdation to the thit^ which receire motion 
and order from diem, thia is what the antients ^ 
called Dcftiny*. So that if we refleft with 
attention on the efficaqr of the one and the 
qther, their difference will eafily appear. For 
Providence is that intelligence, or divine rea- 
fon, which refides in the fovereign mafter of 
the univerfe, and dh^efts all things; whilft 
Deftiny is that inherent ftate or condition of 
moveable things, by means whereof Providence re- 
tains them in the order and arrangement in which 
fhe has placed them. Providence, therefor^ at 
one and the fame time, comprehends all things^ 
however different, Ifowever multiplied they be ; 
but Defliny gives motion to every particular 
thing, iii the mean time .appointed, and in 
the place and under the form appropriated 
to it. So that the model of this order of 
things, when we confidcr it, as wrapt up in the 
divine Intelligence, is Providence; whereas the 
accomplifhmcnt of the fame order, drawn forth 
and executed in the courfe of time, is Defliny, 

* Or Fate. Quid enioi, fays Minutius Felix, aHud eft fatum, 
quam quod de uno quoque noftrum Deus effatus eft ? qui cum poflet ^ 

prssicire materiam^ promeiids et qualitatibus fingulonuxu etiam fata 

<* What thereforefelfe is fate, but the fentence which God pronounces 
with regard to every one of us ? who, as he knows before-hand our 
frame, the materials of which we are compofed, determines, according 
to our deferts and qualities^ the fate or condition of every individual/* 

M 4 Tho' 


Tho' the difi^rence betwixt tbefi be apparent; 
the one nevcrthelefs depends on the other i fince 
the order of Deftiny ia. but an emanation from 
the fimplicity or unity of Providence, For 
as a workman^ who has formed in his head the 
plan of a work which he is defirous to finiih^ 
executes it afterwards, and produces in procefs of 
time all the different parts of the, model which 
he has conceived s fo God, in the plan of his 
Providence, difpofes every thing to be brought 
about, in a certain order and in a proper time i 
and afterwards, by the miniftry of Deftiny, 
<;omplifhes what he has thus planned, in confor- 
^ mity to that order and that time. Whether 
it be by the agency of fpirits *, attendants upon 


• *« Whether it be by the agency of fpiriti, attendants upon Pro- 
vidence, that Deftiny operates, or by a foul, or by the miniftry of 
tha whole frame of nature, or by the influence of the dart, or by the 
power of angels, or the unwearied induftiy of demon* \ ox whether it 
be by any one of thefe, or by all of them together, that the chain of 
Deftiny is formed/*— -« What Boethtus means by the agency of fpirits, 
attendants upon Providence, as diftinfl from the angels, I do not un- 
derftand.—- By a foul, he probably means the foul of the world, ac- 
cording to Plato : for it was Plato's opinion, that God, who deiigned 
the univerfe ihould be as perfe6l as poHible, animated it with a foul 
or fpirit to govern it, to reprcfs the difcord of the elements, and to 
preferve harmony in it.— — •* By the miniftry of the whole frame of na- 
ture/*— Boethius, in allufion to the do£lrine of the Stoicks, under* 
ftands by this, the divine reafon extending over all the works of the 
univerfe, or that law of God*s providence by which he governs the 
world, yxnfoq, mA* m o imt/aoc JiifayiTat — Diog. Laert. L. vii. § 149 •<— 
«* By the influence of the ftars :'* — • Moft men,' fiiys Pliny, in hjs ad 
Book ot Natural Hiftory, < believe that their deftiny depends upon 

• the 



providence, that Deftiny operates, or by ^ foul, or 
by the miniftry of the i^hole frame of nature, or 
by the influence of the ftars, or by the power of 
angels, or the unwearied induftry of demons j or 
whether it be by any one of thefe things, or by all 
of them together, that the chain of Deftiny is 
formed; it is evident Providence is the inva- 
riable, the fimple, and uncompounded train of 
conducing every things and that Deftiny is the 
fluctuating contexture and temporal arrangement 
of thofe things which Providence has ordained to 
be done* Hence it appears, that the things 
fubordinate to Deftiny, are alfo under the do- 
minion of Providence, which controls and rules 
Deftiny itfelf : whereas there are fomc things 
placed under the immediate direction of Pro- 
vidence, which are exempted from thejurifdic- 
tion of Fate i and thefe arc fuch as .are placed 
near to the Divinity himfelfj the ftability of which, 
upon that account, is fo great, that they arc not 
aflfedled with the movements of Deftiny. — To 

< the influence of the ftar that prefided'at their birth.* *Tbit opinion^* 
he adds, < has made a great progrefs, not only among, the ignorant, 
* but even among the learned.* Itwaty in fafl, an opinion that almoft 
univerf^lly prevailed for many ages. Hence judicial aftrology, or the 
art of foretelling things by the ftarSf vtras heretofore fhidied and held 
in the higheft efteem ; -but is now defervedly contemned and ex- 
ploded.—** By the power of angels, or the induftry of the demons.** 
—-By the angels we are to underftand the inferior gods and good genii 
of the Platontfts and Stoicks ) and by the demons are meant the evil 
genii of thefe philofophers. 

8 comprehend 



> comprehend my idea, 6gure to yourlelf icvcial 
globes . revolving round one common ceiitre* 
N0W3 that which is innermoft^ as it approaches 
neareft to xhcjSmplidty of the middle pointy or 
centre, becomes itfelf as it were a centre to the 
glpbes placed without it, round which they roll ; 
whilft the outermoft, of theniy revolving in a 
wider circumference the farther It is from the 
centre, defcrib? s a larger fpacc ; but if this out- 
ermoft fphere, or any thing whatever, Ihoiild 
be joined and annexed to the middle point* 
you muft allow it will partake of its fimpli- 
city and .ftabilityi and will lofe that tendency 
to motion and change, which all things more 
remote from the centre are' condemned to.— 
By a like manner of reafoning, we conclude^ 
that xhe further any thing is removed frpm the firft 
Intelligence, it is fo much the more under the 
comroul of Dcftiny i whereas, on the contrary,, the 
nearer any thing approaches to that Intelligence, 
which is the centre of all things, it becon^es more 
ftable, and lefs dependent upon Deftiny. And if 
we fuppofe that the thing in queftion is joined 
to the immutability of the Supreme Intelligence, it 
then becomes immoveable, and does not at all de- 
pend upon the neceffity of fate. Therefore^ as 
reafoning is to the underftandiog ; as that which 
is produced is to that which exifts of itfcll^s 
as time is to eternity j and as the circumference 
to the centers fo is the moveable order of 
5 Deftiny 

OF Pr»l L O aO P^ fi |fy 4f I 

,D?ftiny to the ftabte .fifnplicity of Provid^^ncc. It 
13 this chain of deftan|r which rpoves the heavens 
and the ftars> which preferye^ the harmony that 
itigns^^ amofig the* element$^ and caules them to 
afliin^ forms infinitely varied. Ic is ^is which 
renews every thing that is once produced, by 
preferving the fecundity of fexcs and of feeds. It- 
is this Ukewife that conftrains the adions and 
fortunes of men, by caufcs, the ^oimcftion whereof 
cannot be broken -, which, as they derive their origin 
from an immoveabk Providence, muft, like it» be 
alfo immoveable. In* this manner a^e all things 
Vfell conducted, as the fimplicity reQding in the 
divine undcrftanding produces that invariable or- . 
der of caufes -, and this order, by its own inherent 
immutability, rcftrains things in their nature muta- 
ble, and prcferves them from all irregular wander- 
ing and fluftuation,— Hence, to* ignorant tnor- 
tals, who cannot comprehend this order, things 
appear irregular and confufedi the condition 
of all things neverthelefs is fuch, that they are 
direfted and impelled by it to their good: for 
there is nothing done merely for the fake of evil^^ 
even by the wicked themfelves, ^o in their re-^ 
fearchfs after ^ood, as I have clearly proved to 
you, are led aft ray from it by del u five errors but 
in no wife by that pure order which flows from 
the centre of the Suprenpe Goodnefs, which can- 
not poffibly miflead any creature from its origin^ 
But you may perhaps fay. How can there be a 





more unequal diflribution of events^ than thit 
profperous and c^amitous things fhould b^ al- 
ternately dealed to the virtuous; whilft the 
wicked are, in like manner, delighted with the 
enjoyment of what they wifli, and anon dif- 
treflcd with the evils which they abhor? But 
what then ? Can you affirm that men's under- 
ftandings are fo infallible as to difcover whether 
thofe whom they believe virtuous or wicked, 
iarc fo in reality ? You know well that their 
judgments diflFer widely upon this point; and 
that perfons, who by fome are thpught worthy of 
a reward, are by others deemed deferving of 
punifhment. But let us fuppofe that a man 
could with certainty diftinguifh the good from 
the bad ; we muft fuppofe him in this cafe able 
to explore the frame and contexture of the hu- 
man mind, with the fame accuracy as anatomifts 
do that of the body ; for without this knowledge, 
it would be as impoffible for him to diftinguifh 
men of worth from their oppofites, as it would 
be for one ignorant of the art of phyfic to 
• fay why bitter aliments agree with fome men's 
conftitutions, and fwect with thofe of others;' 
or why certain maladies are relieved by le- 
nitives, and others by powerful remedies. 
Though thefe efFefts be furprizing to the ig- 
norant, they are not fo to the phyfician who 
knows the conftitution of the humaii body, the 
caufes of difeafes, and their cures. But what, 1 




priiy you, conftitutcs the health of the mind, but 
virtue ? and whence are its maladies derived, but 
from vice ? Who is it that diffufes blelfings upon 
mankind and faves them from evil, but God 
alqne, who is the - guide and phyiician of fouls ? 
who, from the exalted obfcrvatory of his Provi- 
dence, beholds all the wants of his creation, fees 
what is neceflary %o every individual, and beftows 
jt upon them* Frcftn this fource is derived that 
wpnderfui miracle, the ,^der afdeftinyi a miracle 
wrought by the wifdom of God, which aftoniOies 
ignorant oiortals. But let us npw difcourfe a ' , 
little upon the few things which pur feeble rea« 
fon permits us to know of the profound abyfs of 
the Divinity. The man whom you efteem the 
.moft juft, and the llrifteft obfcrver of equity, 
appears otherwife to the eye of that Providence ^ 

who knoweth every thin^. Lucan^ our pupil, 
in his Pharfalia, fays, 

Tho* Heav*n declared on the viAorious fide. 
The vanquiih'd cauie by Cato was embraced. 

Be perfuaded then, that whatever you fee done 
here contrary to your expedbations and wiflies, is 
in confequence of a good order eftablifhed over 
all nature, although to your apprehenfion it may 
appear the effeft of irregular confufion. Let us 
fuppofe a man of fuch pure and exemplary mo« 
rals, that he is equally agreeable to God and 




men, but not endued with ^ filffident ftfength of 
mind ; fy that n|Jon a fmall reverfe of fortuhe, 
he might* pethap^ ' forego Kb probity, fin<3ing 
th^t it ckmibt preferve him in a ftate of prof- 
peritf. The Wifdom of (iod, therefore, knowing 
ttrit advtrfi^ n>ight deftroy this man's integrity, 
gracioufly a^rti From Him cdVdn^ifies which he is 
not able to 'frftaln. ' Another, again, is Co tho- 
roughly vii'tlious, that Irt the fanftity of his life 
he apprctoches in ibme rheadire to the purity of 
the Deity j ProTidetice ii fb far .from diftrefltng 
ftidt a perfort 'with* the evils of life, that it even 
exempts him fr6m its difeafes: for, as one morti 
esccellent thah* I inh, ha^ obferved *,• the Virtties 
hiild np the bhify of the hcfy iHan. But to return*; 
Providence often cntrufts tKfc direftion of public 
^airs to nien of worth, that the outrageous ma* 
lice of the i^ickcd may be curbed and reftrained. 
To fome Ihc diftributcs a mixture of goad ah($ 
evil, as what is befl: adapted to the difpofitionjof 
^theh- ntihds. To fome again ffie gives a check 
by moderate afBiftions, left they grow' wanton 
and unruly by a continued flow of profperity ; 
whrlft fhe involves ophersin' the moft perplexing' 
diftrcfles and difficulties, that their virtues nriay 


♦ Ititerpretcrt arc at a lofe about .tbtf ptilba here r^fferrtd tb. Some 

iiieigioe tbat k ifi ths ^r«6U Egyptian {4lildfi)pher HefnM.T)1M?gi£* 

.' tus. Others fuppole that Phiioibphy alludes to fome enn'oenl (aint 

or chrilUan divine endowed with the Holy Spirit^ becauf^ (he men* 

tioned hi^ as a p^rlbir more exeelfentthan ffcrfelf. ^ 




be cxcixifed and ftrcngthcncd by the praftice of 
paftience. Many are intiniidatcd without caufe, 
at the profpeft of what th^y can cafily fuftain. 
Others rafhly dcfpife what they ar^ altogether un-* 
able to bear; and to render fuch fenfible of their 
ill-grounded prefumption, God often punlfhes 
them with calamities. Some have acquired im- 
mortal renown by a glorious death. Others, by 
their unlhaken conftancy in torments^, have exhi- 
bited examples that virtue cannot be vanquiflied. 
Now, that all thefe events are' the effefts of a juft 
and well-regulated order of things, and that they 
promote the good of the perfons to whom they 
befall, will not admit of a doubt. Tor the fame 
reafons it happens, that adverfity is at one 
time the lot of the wicked, and profperity at 
another. That bad men are diftrefled with evils 
is a furprize to none, becaufe all are of opinion, 
they juftly merit punifhment; befides, what they 
fufFcr is of ufc to amend themfelves, and to deter 
others from wickednefs : that good things, on the 
other hand, fall to their (bare, is a leflbn to the 
virtuous; teaching them how little thefe external 
advantages ought to be prized, which are often 
beftowed upon the molt profligate of mortals. 
Another reafon for difpenfing worldly advantages 
to the wicked, is, that perhaps the difpofitions of 
fomc of them arc naturally fo violent and rapa- 
cious, that indigence would prompt them to com- 
mit the grc^tcft enormities : Providence therefore 




makes ufe of abuhdancc, as a remedy, to prevent 
; them from falling into fuch mifery. Further; 
ftich a perfon is ftung with the reproach of a guilty 
confcieoce, and perceiving that he cannot perfift 
in his iniquitous courfes, and retain his riches; 
he is therefore under difmal ^pprehenfions at the 
profpeft of lofing what he enjoys with fo much 
pleafure, and is upon that account led to a change 
of manners; the fear of forfeiting his fortune, 
engaging him to relinquifli his wickednefs.. 
Another, again, by managing his profperous for- 
tune unworthily, precipitates himfelfintodeferyed 
mifery. To fome bad men, in fine. Providence 
imparts the power of infli6ting punilhments, with 
^ a view both to chaftife other wicked perfons, and 
to excrcife the fortitude of the good : for as there 
is no concord betwixt the virtuous and the 
, wicked; fo neither can the vicious agree with 
one another. And hpw (hould they? as they 
are at perpetual war with themfclves ; their crimes 
fitting fo heavy upon their confciences, that there 
is fcarce any thing they do but they afterwards 
difapprove. Hence arifes afignal miracle brdught 
about by Divine Providence, that the wicked, 
often reform their brethren in iniquity, and render 
them good ; for thefe latter having fuffered in- 
juries from the former, their refentment excites 
them to become virtuous themfelvesi that they 
may no more bear any refemblance to perfons 
whom they fo thoroughly dctcft. Thus we fee, 




that it is the power of Deity alone that can 
draw good out of evil, over-rule it for his 
own purpofes, and deduce froin it beneficial con-* 
fequences. For in all God's works. We may plainly 
perceive that there is a fixed order which com- 
prehends every thing that exifts : fo that if any 
thing departs from the particular arrangement 
wherein it is placed, Lt muft neceflarily fall under 
another eftablilhment i as in. the realms of Pro- 
vidence, the caprice and irregularity of thance, 
has no dominion. But after all, as the poet ob- 
ferves, it is difficult to unfold what relates to 
the Divinity. In faft, it is prefumptuous in man 
to attempt to comprehend the whole ceconomy of 
the fovereign of theuniverfej and ftill more* fo, 
to endeavour to explain it in words. Let it 
fatisfy us to know, that God, who formed all 

beings, difpofes and direfts them to good 5 and 
that, while he retains every thing he has created, 
in an order worthy of his unerring wifdom, he 
makes ufe of that chain of deftiny which he hath 
eftabliflied, to banifti every evil from the immenfe 
circuit of his empire. If you will therefore 
contemplate with attention the conduft of Pro- 
vidence, you will be convinced that the evils 
which feem to overflow the univerfc, exift cnly 
\n your own imagination. But I now perceive 
that you are confounded and exhaufted with the 
length of my reafoning, and ' with the intricacy 

N and 



and oblcucicy of thefe difquiOtioos ; and that you 
zre impatiently cxpe^ing relief from the harmony 
of my numbers^ Let us therefore interrupt the 
courfe of our arguments, and ftrive to footh and 
refrefh your mind with pleating and melodious 
ftrains> that it may be brought into a pr<^>er 
frame to comprehend what (till remains to be 

Studious of matters great and highj 
Wouldfl: thou the thund'rer's powV explorci 

Survey the fpacious vaulted fky 
With glowing flars befpangled o*en 

* > 
Whilft man'^ frail race quick waftes away, 

^ Unchanged thefe wond'rous orbs endure. 

Roll ceafelefs on in faif array, 

3y laws conduced wife and fure. 

Faithful the fun returns each day, 
All nature quick'ning with his light i 

The moon fuccceds with milder ray, , 
And gladdens and ador(\$ the night. 

Nightly, the beaming pole around. 
The northern Bear conduds his train. 

Nor &ny% from his appointied bQi;ind> 
To.Teft hitm in the rolling main* 




l?air Vtfpir, tx) his oMce true. 
At eve renews wJth ligHf liis horn ; 

And ll^aking frbrti his lofcks the dtW^ 
Bright Phofphor iriherS in the liiomk 

Kept fihn By love^d cttm^l chain, 
Th^ ether iil lamps thiiir rbuflds revblvi i 

No ftrifc difturbi dit radlaWt train^ 
No force their cotiebfd cin diMvi* 

"What — but this enei-gy divine 

Such jarring demerits could tatrici 

Such oppofitcS in union join^ 

As forrrt the WoridV H^moniotis frame ? . 

^The humid atoi^s itr^t m rtio>6 
With dry, nor heit with colci contends^ 

Th* afpiriftg flanrie delights to (bar, 
Whilft down the fliiggifh eirtK defcendSi 

Gobdttefs flipt-eme the lemons leads j-^ 
In Spring the bilmy zephyr bk>ws. 

And ftrait the field its verdut-e Ipfcadsi 
Their beauties Florals race dlfcWfei 


Sumrtier cohdu(5ts( tWfuUty hotif^j 
And ripens Ccl^s* goKferi-gtaiir J 

With plenty cr6#ri*d kind AiitUmtf pourt 
His ftoresi md^aAa-^ kifgliiti^'f^^nv 

. N 2 Earth's 






Earth's fruitful lap ftern Winter bares. 
His fnows defcend, his tempcfts blow ; 

The glebe his jiitrous frofts prepares. 
Abundant harvefts to beftow. 

^^ The fcafons, in fucccffion fair. 

Give life and growth to all that breathe •,— 

Progreflive feafons unaware 
Revolve ; — they perifb all by death. 

Meanwhile, th* Eternal fits ferene 
Upon his cverlafting throne ; 

Whofe power almighty form'd this fcene 
Of things at firft, and rules alone : 


Sole fourcc of goodnefs and of grace. 
Of truth and right th' unerring caufe. 

Who knits and tames man's wayward race, 
By order, government, and laws : 

Whofe bpundlefsi all-pervading foul. 
Impels^ and checks, and rules at will 

The motions of ib* amazing whole. 
And turns to good each feeming ill. 

/ • 

Did not his fecret- working hand 
Give every wheel its round to know; 

Did he not every fpring command. 
This world would foon » chaos, grow. 


i * 


> > 



See then the univerfal chain 
That all connefts — Almighty Love ! 

See urg'd by this, how all again 
Prefs to that center whence they move ! 

Do you ' now perceive, continued fhey the All for- 
confequence that 'flows from all that we have S^^pJ^r* 
been rcafoning upon?— What is it?— That all ^J^^^^ 
fortune is abfolutely good. — How is that poffi- good, 
ble ? — Since all fortune, faid flie, whether agreeable 
or vexatious, is employed, either to reward orcxcr* 
cife the good, or to punifh and correft the bad : 
every event therefore which can befal a man muft 
be good, as it is clearly either juft or ufeful.— 
What you fay is true*, and if I confider providence 
and Deftiny as you have reprefented them to me, 
I (hall find your reafonirig well founded. But let 
us, notwithflanding, put this opinion, if you 
pleafc, among the number of thofe pofitions, 
which you formerly fuppofcd were incredible. But 
.why Ihould we do that? — Becaufe there is no 
phrafe, faid I, more common and frequent among 
men, than that the fortune of fuch a perfon h 
bad. — Would you then wife, added flie, that we 
|hpuki conform for a moment to the language of 
the vulgar, left we feem to depart too much from 
the manner of conceiving and exprefling things 
familiar among men ? — Do as you pleafe.— Do 
you think, faid fhe, that every thing that is ufeful 
is good ?— Certainly. — Every fortune, then, or con* 

N 3 ditioa 


edition of lifcj which /either excrciles or correds^ is 
ufcful.-— To this I agree. — Confequcndy, every 
fortune which cxercifes and corrc^as, is good.-«, 
Unqueftionably it i^. — But this is evidently the 
fortune of all, who, by adhering to virtue, have 
adverfity |o combat withi or by relinquiihing 
vice, purfuc the road of virt;ve.-F-^I muft allow 
t}i»t it is,-*But with regard to that profperous 
fc^qne, which is difpcnfed to the worthy as 4 
reward ; do the vulgar think it bad ?-^Not at all | 
they believe it very good, as it is in reality.^ — 
Once more^ Dp they believe the calamities good^ 
that punilji the wicked, aiwi reftrain the courfe of 
their malice?— On the contrary, anfwered I, they 
Ipolf: ijppn them as the moft miferable events 
that can ppflibly be imagined. — But let us 
t#ke c^re, added Ihe, kft by adhering to the 
Opinion of the vulgv, we have not involved 
qurfelves in a new Qonfequence that is incredible, 
~-l^hat eonfequence is that ? — Does it not clear- 
ly foilow* from the conceflions formerly made> 
U)^t the fortune of aU, who have either acquired 
•^tue, or are ftriving to acquire it, aiid to make 
4 prpgr^fs in it^ m[u(t neceflarily be good; but 
t|^ th^ fortune of fych as perfift in vice mu(| 

^ Ije wr^bed in ti^c highcft degree ?Tr-The con(e^ 
q^?ncf is juf^, anfwered I, though there are nono 
^^ hay^ ^c courage to con£:fs it. — But whyi 
^^d.^^i do they not ? fince the wife man ought 
fwrely- ?» tfe as u^dcje^ed^ wh? a he i? brpugh| 


into the field to wage war with fortune, as thft 
brave man is undifmaycd with the din of arrhs, 
and the tumultuous uproar of the battle: ai 
thedangfcrs of war open td the one a field to ac* 
quire glory -, fo the difficulties which he has to 
. encounter, prcfent the other with an opportunit/ 
of exercifing and difplaying his wildom. Thus 
virtue, as we learn from the etymology of th* 
word *, is no other thing than a power relying 
upon its own proper ftrengtb, which furmounts. 
and conquers every oppofing obftade. Let it be 
your bufinefs, then> my pupil, who have made 
fuch a progrcfs in virtue ; let it be your particu* 
lar care not to place your bappinefs in luxury, 
nor to fuffer yourfelf to be enervated with plea- 
fure. You have a perpetual war to cJarry on 
againft both fortunes; with the bad lell it 
difmay you, with the good left it corrupt you. 
Seize then the golden mean f ^ fo efiehtial to happi- 

* FirfuSi tht Latin word» whence virtue is taken^ i$ derived from 
fuireSf which iigiiifies ftrength, 
f To this Horace exhorts : 

Aureaixi quifquis mediocritatem 
Diligit, tutus caret obfoleti 
SOrdibus tecli» caret invidendi 

Sobriusaulft. ., 

The man withki the golden meai^. 
Who can his boldeft wifli contain. 
Securely views the ruiuM cell 
- Where ibrdid want and ibrrow dwell | 
And hi him&lf fiirtiiefy gMt, 
Peclines an envied room of ftate. 


N 4 uefs, 


ncfs, and retain it with all your might. Whoever 
fears above, or dcfcends below this line, acquires 
nothing but a contenlptible felicity, and unwor- 
thy of his labour. To conclude, it depends upon 
yourfelfto choofe what fortune you pleafe: but 
kt this maxim be remembered, that every for- 
tune which is called adveffe, unlefs it exercifes or 
' ' amends, always puniflies. ' 

To puniih Paris' guilty flame. 
And vindicate his brother's fhame,^ 
Ten tedious years imperial Troy 
Atrides battled to deftroy. 
At Aulis, whilft the Chief deplores 
His fleet, ^detain'd on Grecian fhores, 
- To waft to Troy his numerous fails 
With blood he bought propitious gales ; 
Diana's vengeance to remove. 
The parent from his heart he drove, 
/ And weeping faw his daughter's bread 
I^icrc'd by the dagger of the priefl:. 

Whilft giant Polyphemus tore 
Ulyfles* -mates, and fwiU'd their gore ; 
The Chief, benevolent and wife, 
Their fate laments with ftreaming eyes : 
But f65n >s by his matchlefs fleight. 
The Cyclops 'wailM his lofs of fight. 
He joy*d to hear the nionftcr roar. 
And ihakc Sicilia's ftartled fhore't > . 





The great Akides* deathlefs name 

His labours confecrate to fame *.— • 

The Centaurs fierce he fir ft o'erthrew j 

Next, — the Nemean lion flew; 

And wore, a trophy of his toil, 

The dreadful creature's (haggy fpoil: 

His arrows pierce *the Harpies dire ^ 

He kiird the dragon, breathing fire i"; 

And bore his dearly purchased prey. 

The glitt'ring golden fruit, away : 

Cerberian furyhe reftrajns, 

* And leads the monfter-dog in chakis: 

Thev mangled corfc df Diomede J 

He gave the tyrant's colts to feed : 

The horrid Hydra to hrs ire 

A ^idim falls> — fubdued by fire : 

His front difhonour'd, ftruck withfhame. 

Sad Achclous g glides a ftream. 


• Philofophy t^ches, by the example of Hercules, the fon of Ju* 
piter and Alcmena, that heaven an 4 iipmortality are not to be ob- 
tained but by many labours and diflicuUies* In thi§ poelh the twelve 
famous labours of Herculee are pointed out j moft of which are fo 
well known, that It is needlefs to make remarks upon them : for who 
has not beard of the Centaurs, of the Nemean lion, of the Harpies, of 
the dog Cerbenis, and of Cacus ? 

t The daughters of Hefpeitis, a king in Africa, had a garden 
planted with trees producing golden apples, guarded by a dragon 
breathing fire i this monfter Hercules flew, and carried the fruit to 
£uriftheus his father-in-law. 

% Diomede, a king of Thrace, was fo crupl, that he fed his hories 
with human fle(h. Hercules Hew this tyrant, and gave him to be de- 
voured by his own horfes. 

H Achtlous, the fon of Oceanus and Tethyi , fought with Herc^I<|» 




Nor dares the mMtcUefs hen face. 

But tells in murmurs his diigracc : 

Antaeus, ncjct, his arrrts compreft. 

And fqucezy to death theftrnggling feft t • 

Then, ftorming villain Cacus' cavt^ 

He freed his herds, and flew the flave : 

The heroes {boulders, foon to bear . 

The weight of the celeftial Iphere, 

The flaughter'd Erymanthian boar ^ 

Defiles with horrid foam and gore ; 

In fine, when Atlas tj Vail'd his fate. 

Of heav'n's whole frame to bear the weight, 

for Deianira, the daughter of Oeneus, king of Calydonea ; but as he 
was inferior to the hero in (hengtli, Achelous turned himfelf fir(l into 
a ferpent> and afterwards into a bull } in which latter form Hercules 
attacked bimi and cut olf his horn, which became the horn of plenty. 
Achelous, a(haiped to appear with One hom^ converted himfelf into a 
river of Epirus, called after him. "■ '^ 

f Antaeus, the Ton of Neptune and the Earthy a giant of prodigious 
ftrength, who, Mrhen he was knocked down by Hercules, immediately 
received new ^rength from his rtiother. Hercules was therefore 
obliged to hold hhn up In his arms and fqueeze him to death. 

$ The boar of Mount Erymanthus of Arcadia, Nvhich was To large 
and fi^ce that it had almo(! depopulated the whole country. Hercules 
rid the world of this monfter. 

I Atl^s was a king of Mauritania, ahd a great ailronomer, and 
was therefore i^id to bear the heavens upon his (houlders. Heicules 
is fabled to have eafed him of his burden for one day; and merited, 
as the po^s relate, by this hit laft and noblelt labour, to be admitted 
into the fodcty of the gods,— King Atlas, the poets {ay, wa« changed 
info a mountain of Africa that bears his name, which, from its 
amazing tieight, fcems to fupport the heavens. The extent of the 
^tlantean mountains i? very great, reaching through far the greateft 
part of Africa, from the Atlan^ip Ocean (fo called from this moun-s 
t«in) to the dcfartf of Barca. 


Th* enormous loj^d his back received i 
And Alias of bis toil rclieyy . 

Such were the paths the hero trod ; 
Xhefe labpurs raised binn to a God ! 

Rouft, mortals, roufc ^ purfqe bis plan^ 
Go, — imitate the wond*rous man : 
JL^et nought your dauntlcfs foqla difmayj 
Hulh on, where virtue leads the way. 
In glorious deeds exulting rife^ 
And ip^r friijmpbaRt to ;hc ffeies, 








Pbilofophy defines Chance. ^-Sbe explains wherein 

freedom of will conjijls. She folves the old 

objeSlion againfi Providence^ by proving that the 
prefcience of God neither binds man^s willy nor 
deftroys human liberty. 

WH EN (he had thus finifhed^ and was about, 
to turn her difcourfe to the illuftration 
and difcuffion of other matters, I interrupted 
her.-— Your exhortation is falutary and bene- 
ficial, and becomes your authority: but I now 
find by experience, that the queftion in refpedl to 
Providence is, as you obferved, involved with 
many others: I am therefore defirous pf know- 
ing, whether there is any fuch thing as Chance, 
and what you think it is. — I am haftening, re- 
plied fhe, to acquit myfelf of my promife, and to 
lay open the road, which will affuredly condudt 
you to your native country ; and tho* the matters 



you arc inquifitive about, be well deferving of 
your knowledge^ yet, as they lie a little out of the 
way to the go^ we have iq view, I am apprehep- 
£ve that by making fo wide. a circuit, you will be 
too much fatigued to hold out ta the end of your, 
journey.— -Don't be afraid of that, faid Ij for to 
learn thofe things that are fo delighjtfully inftrud- 
ing, will be more refrefhing to me than reft it- 
felf: befide^, as thefe queftions have a connexion 
with yojur fubjeft, when they are explained, your 
difcourfe being cleared from every difficulty, will 
reft on the bafis of unqueftionable truth, and it 
will not be poffible for. me to retain any doubt 
in relation to what Ihall remain to be difcuffed. 
—Your importunate defires {hall be gratified 5 
and thus fhe immediately proceeded : 

If Chance is defined an event produced by mo- Philofophy 
tion,.operating without defign, and not by a chain chancc.v 
or connexion of caufes, I Ihould then affirm it to 
be nothing ; and, except as a word ferving to ex- 
prefs what we are reafoning about, I pronounce 
.it an empty found, without any real fignification. 
— ;For how can any thing happen without defign, 
when all events, through the influence of Almighty 
Power, are reftrained by order ? That from no-^ 
thing, nothing can proceed, is an axiom, the truth 
of which none of the antients ever called in 
queftion : tho' this axiom be true, only as it re- 
lates to all created exiftcnces, but by no means 
true as it.refpedls their efficient caule. Now if 
, : any 


any thing arifes widiooc die operadoo of a cmS^ 
it maft proceed fixxn ftochtogi bat as this it 
erideodf trnpoffibte^ Chance is not diertfofe what 
it is affirrted to be in the for e go in g definition.-^ 
What, fays I, is there nothing fortuitous? nothing 
that may be called Chance? is not there any 
thing, tho' concealed from the apprehenfions 
of the Ttslgar, to which thele appellarions maj 
be applied ? — Ariftotle, my difciple, repKied 
(he, has in his Phyficks explained this qiieftioil 
with much prccifion and probability.—** If 
*' any thing," fays he, ** is done for a particular 
♦* end or purpofc, but if a certain concur- 
^ rcnce of caufes produces fomc other thing than 
** was intended, it is called Chance. — For ihftaacei 
** if a labourer in digging a piece of ground, with 
** a view to improve it, difcovcrs a concealed trea- 
'* fure, this is faid to happen by chance : but this 
difcovcry of the labourer docs not Ipring front 
nothing ; it arifes from particular caufes ; the 
•* unforefcen and uncxpcfted concourlc of which 
** brings about the event. For if the labourer 
^* had not trenched the ground, and the perfon 
** who concealed the treafure had not buried it in 
*^ that very fpot, it had not been difeovered.** 
Thefc then are the caufes of this fortuitous ac* 
quifition : from thefe alone it arofe, and not from 
any intention of the human will. For it was 
not the defign, either of the perfon who hid th* 
treafure, nor of him who laboured the ground^ 




that this difco^ery fhonld hare been made. But 
as I juft now hid, the one finding k convenient 
tb dig, where the other had concealed the money, 
by the concurrence of thefe two caufesj the former 
^obtained the prize* Chance may be therefore 
defined, an unexpeSed event, by a cmcurrence of 
caufesy following an affion dejigned for a particular 
purpofe. Now, this concurrence of caufes is the 
effcft of that neceflary order, which ftreams from 
the pure fountain of Providence, and difpofes 
every thing in its proper time and place. 

Where flying Parthians pierce th' aftonifli'd foe 
With deathful fliafts; from Ic^ty Taurus' 
fide ♦, 
, The rapid Tigris, and Euphrates flow. 

And o*er the defart pour one current wide. 

But fooB the flreams divided trace their way. 
And winding on, in feparate channels glide; 

Thro' fandy wades and peopled realms chey 
ftray, , 

Tin> joia'd again, they pour a mighty tide. 


* ^ It WM fuppoibi by 0ie anotciits* that cbe Tigrift^ asul the Xu- 
phrateft iflued from ih«^ isime fourcc. Mount Taunis» and ponwd 
along in one current \ but that this current afterwards was divided 
into two (eparatt ftreams : this is now found not to be the cafe. T^ 
A«fces •f dicfe riTers ave difta^t from one asotbir abo«t 950 miks. 
^er eocompainag the ancient Mefi)polaiiiia ai^ Bab3r)oifia> ikdi 
f ivera ^in their ftreams, and d2Wr together iata the ji^eriian Culph. 

. A ^ Whatever 



Whatever th' impetuous rivers bore along, 
Boacsj ihips^ and crees> now in their blended 


Are dafti'd and huddl'd in tumultuous throng, ! 

And by blind Chance the currents guided 


But Chance capricious holds no empire herej 
The rolling rivers Nature's laws obeyi-7- 

Declining ftill, their downward tracks they fleer. 
And lighter bodies in their ftreams convey. 

,They mix, and feparate, and unite again, 

By Sovereign Wifdom taught their beds to 
know : — 

Reft then in this ; Chance holds no rulitsg rein. 
But kind intention governs all below. 





of will 


lunderftand you perfeftly, faidT, and afleht to 
the truth of what you advance : but in this inr 
diffoluble chain of caufcs, can we preferve the 
liberty of the will ? Does this fatal Neceflity re- 
ftrain the motions of the human foul ? — There is 
no reafonable being, replied fhe, who has not 
freedom of will: for every being diftinguifhed 
with this faculty is endowed with judgment to 
perceive the differences of things i to difcover 
what he is to avoid or purfue. Now what a per-. 
fon efteems defirable, he dcfiresj but whalt he 
thinks ought to be avoided, he fhuns. Thus' 





every rational creature hath a liberty of chufirig 
and rejeding. But I do not aflfertj ihdt thi^ liberty 
is equal in all beings, ileavenly fubftancesj wtio are 
exalted above us^ have an enlightened judgment^ 
an incorruptible will, and a power ever at com* 
mand effedtually to acCompJifli their defires. With 
regard to man, his immaterial Tpirit is alfo freei 
but it is inofl: at liberty, when employed in 
the contemplation of the divine .mind ^ it be^^ 
comes lefs fo, when it enters into a body*; and 
is ftill more reftrained, when it is imprifoned 
in a tcrreftrial habitation, compofed of members of 
clay; and is reduced, in fine, to the moft ex- 
treme fervitude, when by plunging into the pol* 
lutions of vicei it totally departs from reafon : 
for the foul no fooner turns her eye from the 
radiance of fupreme truth, to dark and ba(€ 
obje&s, but Ihe is involved in a miik of ig- 
noranccj affailed by impure defires 1 by yielding 
to which, ihe encreafes her thraldom ; and thus 
the freedom which the derives from nature, be- 
comes in fome meafurc the caufe of her flavery. 
But the eye of Providence, which fees every thing 
from eternity, perceives all this; and that 
fame Providence difpofes every thing fhe has 


, predeftinated^ in the order it deferves. As Homer 

• ** tt becomes lefs To when it enteri into 1 body.^*— Boethius mui ' . 

ibns here according to the opinion ofPlatOt who believed in ^ pi%* 
exiftence of foult $ and that the fame fool might aiumate a yariaqr flf 
bodilKt, iiiksing grctt}^ in d^rees of punter. 

O fays 


lays of the fun, it fees every thii^, and hears 
every thing *. 

Horner^ in mellifluous lay^, 
^ings the fun's all-piercing rays.-^ 
Phdebus' beams^ whonn vcsitn adore^ 
Only ftrcam the furface o*cr, 
Reach not Tellvs' hidden caves. 
Pierce not Ocean's rolling waves* 

But th' Eternal from on high. 
With his all-perceiving eye, 
Sees his wide creation through-^ 
Starting open to his, view ; 
(While her fable noantlesj Night 
Vallily fpreads to bar his fight) 
Darteth He, with piercing ray. 
Where Sots beams can never ft ray ; 
SeeS"-~what's hid in earth^s dark cavca^ 
Sees — what lurks beneath the waves : 
All events at once doth fee, 
Prefent, paft, and what fhaU be. 

Him the Sun then rightly call-^ 
God> who fees and lightens all*. 


. ' 

• £p4^#tu» in ArriaB fayty And is not God capable of furveying 
1^11 things, and being prefent with all, and receiving a certain com^ 
ifiunication frotn all F Is the fun capable of ilhiminating fo great a 
portion of the univerle, and of leaving only that fmail part of it un« 
iUvfiiDale^t v^iich b cof ored by the ikadow of the earth ? and cannot 
kr wA» made and rfr#lves the fun, a £mall part of himfelf, if con»- 
)ar(AiMtlktlM «hol« i cannot he pcrbeite all things \ 

MrK Carter*s.Tf^iflatioi^» i^^hj, xiv« f. u 




* But now, faid I, a difficulty arifes, wivich per- 
plexes me more than all^ the foregoing.-**What 
is that? though I believe I can guefs the caufe 
of your perplexity, — God's foreknowledge of 
all events, anfwered I, feenns to me altogether 
inconfiftent with the free-will of nmn t for if God 
forefces all things, and cannot poffibly be de- 
ceived, then, that which he forcfees to happeii 
in future, muft neceffarily happen: if frona 
eternity God had forefeen not only the aftioni 
of men, but their defigns and wills, there wou]d 
be no liberty of choice j as in this cafe men have it 
nOjt in their power to do any aftion, nor to forni 
any wilh, but thofe which have been forefeen by 
God's infallible Providence* In fa6t, if thing* 
could be wrefted in fuch a manner, as to happea. 
Dtherwile than they have been forefeen, the pre* 
fcience of God, in regard to futurity, would not 
be fure and unerring i it would be nothing mor6 
than an uncertain opinion : but I eftcem it inlplbui 
to entertain fuch an idea of God j nor dd I at 
all approve the reafoning made ufc of by fbfrtci 
for the folution of this perplexing qucftienj. 
** Things, fay they, do not neceffarily befal, be*- 
'* caufe the Divine Providence hath forefecij they 


• Hence, to the end of the book, Boethitit ^(SuilliUK^ flMlMib 
i^yeftioB relfitiTe to the prefc^nce of' Q<Ay and tbo h^imi ^f tM 
human will. He treats this fubje^ at lengthy and proves hy ingC"^ 
nious, and at leaft plaulible, arguments, that the forekno^Ietfj^'^Of 
Deity doet ngt bind the wiH- of minr ikd d^Arof hooHUi ]lbeBi)ii 

• . O a 






were to happen; but rather, becaufc ihey 
** were to happen. Providence could not be ig-* 
'^ norant of them/' Now by this way of 
reafoning, the neceflity appears as It were to 
trhange fides : for it is not neccflary, according to 
their opinion, that the things which are forefeen 
ihould happen ; but it h neceflary, however, thai 
the things which are to befal (hould be forefeen ; 
a^ if the queftion was, which was the caufqof the 
other — prefcience, of the neceffity of future 
events; or the neceffity, of the prefcience of future 
events. But I (hall now endeavour to de* 
monftratej that in whatever way the chain of 
caufes is difpofed, the evenf of things which arc 
forefeen is neceffary; although prefcience may 
|iot appear to be the neceffitating caufe of their 
befalling. For example; if a perfon fits, the opipion 
formed of him that he is featcd, is of neceffity 
true: .but by inverting the phrafe, if the opinion 
is truc'.that jie is feated, he muft ncceffarily fit. 
In both cafes then there is a neceffity; in the 
Utter, that the perfon fits ; in the former, that 
the opinion concerning him is true: but the 
perfon doth not fit, becalife the opkiion of his 
|i|ting is true ; but the opinion is rather true, 
becaufe the a&ion of his being feated was ante- 
^cedent inr time. Thus tho' the truth of the 
opinion may be the cffirfl of the perfon taking a 
feat, there is neverthelefs a neceffity common to 
both% The iame method of reafoning, I thinks 



OF philostophy: -^ " r^: 

^uld be employed with regard to the prcfciencc 
of God, and future contingencies : for allowing 
it to be true, that events are forcfeen, becaufe tljey 
arc to happen, and that they do not befal be- 
caufe they are forefeen ; it is ft ill neceffary, that 
what is to happen muft be forefcen by God, an4 
that what is forefcen muft take place. This then 
is of itfelf fufficient to defti;oy all idf a of human 
liberty. But it is prcpofterous thus to attribute 
the eternal prefcience of G6d to the event of 
temporal things : for what difference is there in 
imagining, that God doth forefee future events 
becaufe they are to happen *, apd to fuppofe that 
what hath aftually h^ppen^d in time paft was 
the caufe of his fovereign prefcience ? Moreover, 
as a thing nece0arily is^ when I know it be, fo 
ir will neceflarily be when I know it is; the 
event therefore of a thing forefcen, muft ne- 
ceffarily befaL Laftly, if a perfon fuppofes a 
thing different from what it is; this is not a know- ^ 
ledge of the thing in queftion, but a falfe opinion 
of it^ widely diftant from the truth of fcience ; if 
a thing were therefore to befal in fuch a way, that 
the event of it is neither neccifary nor certain ; 
how can any one forefee that it is to happen ? For 
as what we really do know is free from all uncer- 
tainty, fo what is comprehended by fcience can* 
not be otherwife than as comprehended :, hence 
it is that true fcience cannot err, becaufe every 
-thing nnluft prccifely be what her eye perceives ic 

Q3 ^^ 


to ^. What then is the oonfequenee tba^ flows 
from this ? How docs God^ foreknow thefe tin- 
certain contingencies ? For if }ic thinks a thing 
will inevitably happen, wMch poffibljr may 
not, he is deceived j which one can neither be- 
lieve, nor fay of God, without blafphemy. But 
if he perceives that things will happen accord- 
ing to their cafdal circumftances i if he knows 
that they either may or may not take place j 
what fort of prefcience is this, which comprchend$ 
nothing certain, nothing invariable? May it not 
be well compared with the ridiculous divination 
bfTirtCtSis}' WBafeveIr I fay, either Jball ar jball 
mt be *.— In what, tell me, is the prefcience of 
God fupcrior to the opinion of men^ if, like them, 
he judges with uncertainty in regard to things, 
the event whereof is not fixed ? But if there Can 
be nothing uncertain in his knowledge, who is 

• Tirefiii wat a Mind prophet or footbrayer of Tbebet • Boethioi 
takes this ridiculous divination from Horace^ who, to ridicule the 
foolifti credulity of the Roman$ of bis time, upon the article of divins^* 
tion^ makes Tirefias reply to Ulyffes, who was'confulting him 5 


O Laertiade I quidquid dicam^ aut erit, out turn, 
Divinare eteniro magnus mihi dona^ Apollo. 

HOR. Sat. L. II. Sat. ;. 

O fon of great Laertes ! every thing 
Bbali come to fajsy or nenjer^ as Ifing ; 
For Phoebuf , monarch of the tuneful Nine, 
luforma my fiwU^uid givea me to difine. 

F a A II c 1 9* 





the fourcc of all certeinty , the event of aU tfiiftgii 
which he aflliredJy forekno^vs, rmift be fixed and 
ixievitabk* WheiwJe it lbilpw$p, that <here caft 
be no liberty, »ckher in the defiges nor in the: 
aftions6f nncoi beca^fe the Divine cninfl, endowed 
with an infallibkforefight, oonftrains andbitKfci 
tshencj to a certain evept. But if thijs t)e ^anfed^ 
bow great is the confufion, jhow miferable thit 
diilraiftion that hence fprings up in ^uman afEiir^ J 
For it would be- to no purpofe to pro pole rewards 
or puhifhments to the good or the bad, when 
both of thetti are deprived of liberty, and 
when the will does, not influence their aftions. 
Rewards and puniihnients, which are now con-' 
iidercd as both reafoosble and equitable, would 
then become very unjtift i when it is aUowed that 
mankind are not pronopted by the determinations 
of their wills, to virtue and vice, birt in all their 
condud conipelled by ^ fatal weceffity. If things 
were fo conftitutcd, there would be neither virtu^ 
nor vice; but fuch a prepofterous mixture of 
the one and the other, as would produce the moft 
horrid and (hocking confufion. Now, this iB the 
nioft infipkms idea that can poffibly enter into the 
human mind. From fuch extravagant principles,-— 
that man has not the freedom of choice,— and that 
every event is difpofcd and conftrait^ed by Divine 
prefcience,— we are forced to conclude, that all 
our vices ought to. be afcribed ibiely to God ; to 
that Being, who is the fource of every virtue, and 

04 of .. 


of all goodnefs. Suppofing this the cafe^ it will 
be of no ufe either to hope or to pray for any 
thing I for why ihould men do either^ when all 
they can deGre is irreverfibly predeftined ? Hope 
and prayer, becoming thus ineffedual, the only 
intercourfe betwixt God and the human race 
is cut off: for as by offering up our fupplications 
with c|ue reyercncc and humility, we merit the 
ineftimable reward of the Divine grace and 
counfel; fo it i$ by means of prayer, even before 
cur requefts are granted, that we feenfi to airociate» 
as it were, with the Deity, and to unite ourfelves 
to that inacceflible light. But if a (ixed irrer 
vocable neceflfity of future events is admitted, 
prayer can have no effed ; and what other way 
is there then left, wherewith we can be conne&ed 
with the fovereigq author and difpofer of all 
things ? Man therefore, as you formerly obfcrved^ 
being thus detached aiid difunited from the 
iburce of his exiftence, muft fink into nothing. 

Th^t God doth all events forefci 
That every human aft is free-r- 
Are truths, when fep'rate, plain and clear^ 
But join -djj-^pcrplcx'd and dark appear. 
Declare then, what difcordant caufe 
Puzzles and clouds perfpicuous laws i 
Can things indifputably true 
Involve an inconfiftencc toot ? 



Who can the Gordian knot unloofe^ 
And this deep myftery difclofc ? 

The Hcav*n-born mind> pprhaps, you'Uikyi 
Encuiqber'd with this^load of clay^ 
Cannot perceive the fecret ties 
Of things, and nice dependencies.— p 

Why does (he then with ardour gloWi 
Matters beyond her reach to know ? 
Knows ihe the fecret (he would gain ? 
Then fure^— (he would not toil in vain^ 
If, weak and blind^ (he knows it not^ 
Why gropes (he for (he knows not what? 
None wi(h for what they neyer knew^ 
Nor matters wholly hid pur(ue.— 
But grant, — that after fearch profound 
She finds it;-^can (he fay 'tis found ? 
Each mark unknown of what (he fou^htj 
Pares fhe affert — the prize is got ? 

The foul at fir(l:, then, (hall we fay, 
lUum'd with a cele(lial ray. 
From Wifdom's beaming fource that iprings. 
Knew all the fecret chains of things :— - 
But fent from Heaven's pure light to dwell 
In this corporeal (luggiih cdl ; 
Tho* clouds the intelUSual hrigbt 
O'ercaft, and dim her native light. 
Clear marks of her celeftial ftrain. 
And Hcav'n-taught knowledge, ftiU remain; 
Truth's outlines fair are ftill impre(l 
PifticifUy 00 the human breaft \ 



inan liber « 


Tho* individuals arc foi^t. 

The fum of things ludcnown is not* 

In Science, ^then, who ftrive to grov. 
Studious refleft on wiiat they know,, 
And calm invefligate again 
The truths their minds did once retaiiu 

Hd^nce learn they to philofophize. 
And open Nature's myfteries. 

Spiutionof This»faid (he, is the old objediofi againft Fro* 
a^bft ** vidcnce, , fo acutely handled by Cicerdy in his 
^cnw that 5^^^ ^^ Pivination, and fo ^ten anxioufly en- 
codes pre, quired iqto by yourfelCi. of whicji neither of 

fcience dc- ♦ - , i i ' i i 

ftroys hu. you, nor any perlon whatever, has bei^n aWe to 
give a fatisfying folutiont The caufc of this 
myftcry is, that thi& huataq underlbrnding can- 
not conceive the fimplicity of the prcfeience of / 
'God i: for if it were poffibk to comprehend this, 
every difficulty, would imnnedtately vanish. I 
(hall tlierefore firft confider the matters that give 
you uneafincfs, and (hall then try to explain and 
folve this perplexing queftion* I aflc you ^thcn. 
Wherefore you do not approve the reafoning of 
fuch as think, " That prefcieoce does not ob- 
ftruft the liberty of the will, bf^caufe it is not 
the necefl5tating caufe of future events ?** Do 
you draw any argument of the neceffity of 
what Ihall happen in future, but from this pro- 
pofition, " That thofe things which are fore- 
*' feen, muft neceffarily hefal i *'•— ^ut if tht;, pre« 



« f 


i^vttkct of God impofcs rK> necc^ty upon events 
that are to befal, as even you were inclined 
to confefs i muft not the ifluc of things be to- 
hintary, and man's will free and unconftrained? 
To render the fcquel of my reafcming the more 
pcrfpicuous, let us fuppofc there is xio prefcience; , 
Would then the events which proceed from 
free-will alone, and from no other fource, be un*^ 
der the power of necejlity ?— No, anfwered 1 1 by 
i?o nwans.-^^Again, continued ihe, let us admit 
a prefcience, but that it impofes no neceffity upon 
what is to happen ; the freedom of the will, | 
fhould think, would ftill remain uninfluenced and 
jntire. But although prefcience, you may fay, is 
not the neccflaTy caufe <^i future events, yet it is a 
fign that they Ihali ncceflarily happen ; and hence 
it follows, that, although xhere were no pre* 
foience, future eventS'would ftill be bound in the 
chain of neceffity, "But here it ought to be con. 
fidered, the fign of a thing is not really the 
thing itfelf, but that it only points out what 
the individual is. For which reafon it muft be 
firft made appear, that every thing happens by 
neceffity, before we can conclude that prefcience 
is the fign of this neceffity : for if there be no tic- 
ccffity, prefcience cannot be the fign of that 
which does not exift. To prove that nothing hap- 
pens but by neceffity, the arguments for this pur- 
pofe muft riot be drawn from figns, or foreign 
caufcs \ but from caiifes intimately connedted 



with, and belonging to this neccffity,-^But how 
is it poffible, faid I, that thofe things which are 
forcfeen ihould not bcfal ? — I do not fay, replied 
ibe, that we are to entertain any doubt but the 
events will take place, which Providence forfefecs 
are to happe4 1 but we are rather to believe, that 
although they do happen, yet that there is no ne- 
ceffity in the events themfclves, which conftraina 
them to do fo: The truth of which I (hall thus 
endeavour to illuftratc. We behold many thingaj 
done under our view/ fuch as a coachman con* 
duding his chariot and governing his horfes, and 
other things of a like nature. Now, do you fup-^ 
pofe thefe things are done by the compulfion of ^ 
neceffity ?— NPi anfwered' I i for if every thing 
were moved by compulfion, the effefts of art 
would be vain and fruitlefs.'—If things then which 
are doing under our eye, added (he, are under no 
prefent nfeceffity of happening ; it muft be admit- 
ted that thefe fame things, before they befel, were 
under no neceflity of taking pUte. It is plain, 
( therefore, that fome things befal, the event of 
which is altogether unconftrained by neceflity. For 
I do not think any perfon will fay that fuch things 
as are at prefent done, were not to happen before 
they were done. Why therefore may not things 
be forc(fcen, and not neqcfKtated in their events ? 
As the knowledge then of what isx prefent imT 
pofes no neceflity on things now done ; fo neither 
^pes the foreknowledge of wh^t h to happen ia 




future> neceiGtate the things which are to take 
place. But you may fay, you hefitate with re« 
gard to this point ; whether there can be any 
certain foreknowledge of things, of which the 
event is not necellitated ? For here there feenis to 
be an evident contradi&ion* If things are fore* 
ieen, you may contend they are under a necefficy 
of happening j but if their event is not neceflary, 
.they cannot poffibly be forefeen, becapfq pre* 
fcience can forefee nothing but what is abfolutely 
certain : and if things uncertain in their events 
are forefeen as certain, this prefcience, you may 
maintain, is nothing more than a falfe opinion : 
for when we comprehend things differently from 
what they really are, we have but imperfeft 
ideas of them, very remote from the truth of 
fcience* To this I would anfwer, that the caufe 
of this miftake is, that men imagine that their. 
knowledge is derived entirely from the nature of / 
the things knowos whereas it is quite the reverfe s / 
fince things are not known from properties in- 
herent in the object of knowledge, but by faculties 
refiding in the perceiver. — ^To give you an ex- 
ample of this in a few words: the globular form 
of a body ftrikes the view in a different manner 
from what it does the touch : the eye, placed at a 
diftance> darts its rays upon the obje&» and by 
beholding it, comprehend^ its form*«-«-On the 

• Boetbiut here follows the opinion of the Stoidci> who imagifiei 
that viiioA wai performed bx the ^ darting its rays uppn the oh\t&t. 



eontrary^ the objeft cannot be diftinguifliod by th^ 
^ touchy unleik the hand is in conta6b with it, and 
fceh it all aroond. Man likcwife is furvcyed ill 
di ffe r en t ways 5 by the fenies, by the imagina- 
tion, by rcafoni and by * intelligence,— The 
fences only perceive his material figure;— the 
imagination perceives the external figure alone, 
cxcluGve of the matter ;— reafon goes further, 
and examining exiftences in general, difcovers 
the particular fpecies of every individual ;— the 
eye of intelligence ftill rifes higher ; for going 
beyond the bounds of what is general, it furveys 
the fimple forms + themfehrcs, by its own pure 


• By intelligoDce, we aie here to ii«dvftan4« «• it plaiA from 
what followti the intelligence of the Deity. 

f By the fimple fonos^ Boethlui meaBs the fi)bftantial or eienCial 
forms of the Peripateticks and the Schoolmen. Mr. Harris, in hit 
?ery iiifeniouf> elegant, and learned book, indried, Philofbphical Ar« 
jpngements, gives the beft and ^Uarrft ucmvA «f theie id>ftnift mai^ 
ter$ that it any where to be met with. He %!« << ExteDfion, %ure, 
*< and organization, are the three original forms to body phyfical or 
^ aatura) ; figure having re^ft to its external, organization to its 
'< internal, and aiOearum bdng qaimnon both to one and the other* 
** It ia more than probable, that from the vaciation in theTc^^univerialf 
•• and, as J may fay, primary forms, arife moft of thoTe fecoQdary forms, 
M finally called Qmditfes Senfible, becaufe they are the proper objefls 
«< q£ ottr ieveral (eofiMiovt. Shidi are rovj^ifii and (j«i«ithn«&, \md* 
</ nefi and foftneft, the diverfities of CQlo«u's,,(li^ttrf, and odours, not 
«* to mention thoft powers of charaftcx more fubtile» the powers elcc* 
f> tiic, nMgnetic, medicinal, 59c. 

** Herei therefore, we may anfwer th« queftion, how natural iiodiet 

^ are diAinguilhed. Not a fingle one among them confifls of materiala 

^ uichaos, but of roatenais wrought up after the moft exquifite 

■ . " *' manner. 


and proper 'light : in which this is priacip^jf 
to be confidered> that the higher power of par* 
ception includes the lower; but that the latitor 
can By no means attain to the energy of tlm 
former: for the fenlea cannot rife to (he pels? 


^ mtnher, and that coni|yiciioiis in their orgisintioQ> or bL 
•• figurci <?r in botk- 

** As^ therefore, evei^ natural body is diftlnguiflied hj the differ* 
'* ences juft defcribed ; and as thefe difFerences have nothing to do 
** with the original matter, whi^ being tttrf wfaqra tmUtr; tui tf- 
** ford ito di(^n^ons at all j may we not he^cftiofiBC the/?y|>ylicjKy 
** of ^(Tential forms, tha^ tvery natural fubftance may he effeotially 
*' charaftcrifcd? " " Thefe eiTential fonns>*' he adds afterwards, "mean 
** fomething, which, though diffenng from matter, ein yfil jmm- fa^ 
** iii^ >»;itb9u| it i fomething, whtfh .u^iteld with it, be}p$ to produce 
*' every coeopqiite being $ that istaiay, in other words, V^ry natucal 
** fubftance in the vifible world**' Philofophical Arrangements, p. tt, 

laip afraidl ^e^adtr iviil 4epve finaU iaforiliatiQB fcwn this ihort 
t%XTs£i I I muii th^efore refer him to Mr. Harrises bpok^ in which a 
great deal more is faid upon thU fubjefl. In the fame book, p« 103. 
ic ieq. we- have an account cf tUe aninlatiDg form of a atttml body, 

wdiifh is too k> be e^ttaMl* 

. This do^rine of eiTential or fubftantial forms, fo famous amon^ the 
fchoolmen, is fo abftrufe, that Boethius makes Philofophy declare, im- 
mediately b^ow, that fimple forms, ^e above the cooeeptifm of rftaftQf 
and ctti only be perceived by the intelligeace of Deity. 

The idea of the Platonifts, with regard ta this matter, according tip 
Mr. Sydenham, in his argument to the greater HIppias, was, Hiatby 
form, theft p^ilofophers did not mean llfotiare*^ outward foon, hut 
ibme inward pi||ciple in aatoye, to which that dueward focm it ow- 
it)g.$ a principle, whofe efemal (amenefs is the caufe of that conftant 
iimilarity in general found in the forms of nature, and the individuals 
of|the fame fpecietf, throagh every fiicccilive genei^on s a toiiarity 
as cjiaf^as if tbegr were caft ill tto fiusejxKnddf os fiamped ^nitb the 
ftmt original typtt. 

.2 ception 


caption of any thing but matter^ nor can the 
imagination comprehend exigences in general; 
neither cab reafon conceive fimple forms : where* 
as intelligence^ looking down as it were from 
abovcs and having conceived the form, difcerns all 
the things which are below it, and comprehends^ 
therefore^ what does not fall within the reach of 
the other faculties. For Ihe comprehends exift- 
ences in general^ as conceived by reafod, the 
figure that ftrikes the imagination, and the mat- 
ter that falls under the cognizance of the fenfeSi 
without making ufe either of reafon, or the ima*^ 
gination, or the fenfes; but (he comprehends 
them z\\ formally, i, e. by beholding their fimple 
forms, if I may be allowed the expreflion, by 
one fingle effort of the mind. In the fame wayi 
reafon, when (he confiders a'thing in general, ap- 
prehends both what is perceived by the imagina- 
tion and the fenfes, without the a(&0:ance of either. 
For inftance, reafon defines her general concep- 
tion, thus, Man is a rational creature with two 
feeti which, though it be a general idea, yet every 
perfon knows that man, thus defined, is perceiv-^ 
able both by the imagination and the fenfes ; not* 
withftanding that in this inftance reafon doe^ not 
make u(c either of the imagination or the fenfe^^ 
but employs her own proper faculty of percep- 
tion. Thus the imagination, though at drfk 
(he learned by the fenfes to difttngui(h and 
to form figures, afta afterwards by her own 



power, and brings all fenfible phjefts to her view 
without the aid of the fcnfes. Do you not fee, 
then, that men attain to the knowkdge of things, 
more by their own faculties, than by the inherent 
properties of the things themfelves? Nor is it 
unreafonable that it fliould be foj for as judg- 
ment is the a<Sfe of the perfon judging, it is ne- 
ceflary that every perfon (hould perform his own 
work, by his own proper faculties, and not by the 
aid pf foreign power. 

* Fallacious and obfcure the lore. 
By Stoick fages taught of yore : 


^ Prior, with admirable humour, defcribet the manner that the foul 
perceives external object, in the firft canto of his Alma, or the. Pro* 
greft of the Mind» 

Alma^ tbey f ftrenuoufly maintain. 
Sits cock-Korre on her throne, the brain | 
And from that feat of thought difpenfer 
Her fov'reign pleafure tp the fcnfes. . , 
Two optick nerves, they fay, fhe ties. 
Like fpe^lacles, acrofs the eyes $ 
By which the ipirits bring her word 
Whene'er the balls are fix'd and fticr'd | 
How quick at park and play they ftrike { 
The duke they court, the toaft they like j 
And at St. James's turn their grace 
From former friends, now out of place. 

Wife Nature likewife, they fuppofe, 
Jlas drawn two conduits down our nofe i 

i* i. e« The Cambridge wItt. 

p Could 



Froin outward objcifts they fuppofe 
A firmy fubftance ccafelefs flows. 
Which ^rikcs acute upon the fcnfe. 
And that alHnowledgc iflues thence. 
Hence, fay theyV^n^^ ^1°"^ receives 
Every: linage it perc8HJIi£^^ 




Could Alma elfe vrirti judgment telf^» 

When cabbage (links, or rofes fmell ? ^^^ 

Or who would a/k for lier opinion s^ 

Between an oyfter and an onion ? ^ 

For from moft bodies, Dick, you know^ *^! 

Soihe little bits afk leaVe to flow '; 

And as thro' thefe canals they roll, , 

Bring up a fample of the whcrfc } 

Like footmen running before coaches^ 

To tell the inn what lord approaches* 
By nerves about bur palate plac^d^ 

SWe Kkcwife ji&lges of the tafte j. 

Elfe, difmal thought I our warlike men 

Might drink thick port. for fine champagne} 

And our ill -judging wives and Batiglilers 
' Miilake fmialUbeier for dtroh- waters. 

' Hence too, thai ftie might better hear^ 

She fcts a drum at either ear j ' \ 

And loud Or gentle, har/h or iweet, 

Are but th' alarums which jhe'y beat. ' 
Laft, to enjoy her fenfe of feeling, 
. A thing (he much delights to deal in, 

A thouland Ifttle nerves (he fends 

Quite to our toes and fingers' ends | 

And thefe, in gratitude again. 

Return their fpirits to the brain j 
. In which their figure being printed^ 

As juft before, I think, I hinted. 

Alma inforna'd, can try the cafe^ 

As ihe had been upon the place; 





The piper, thui, a blank before. 
They add, is traced with letters o'eh 

If nothing to the mind is known 
By powers inherent of her own. 
But paffive, (he th' impfeflions takes, ^ ' 

Which every outward objeft makesj^ 
Reflefting like a mirror fair. 
All bodies that prefented are; ' 

Say, whence deriv'd her power to pierce 
Thro' all th* extended Univerfe ? 

t r 

To roam the world material o'er. 
And intelleftiial too explore; 
Whence does fhe arrange, compound. 
And fep'rat? her id*eal rouhd ? 
Why does Ihe, by progreflion flow. 
From truth to truth afcending go ? 
Why no>V to heav'n her way Ihe wings. 
Now finks abforb'd in groveling thing^? 

Such powers, fey various and fo ftrongy 
Muft to, the heav'n-bbrn mind belong : 
They cannot, fu re, exiftence owe 
To traces which from matter flow. '' 1' 

But ft ill, 'twixt matter and the mind 
We plainly a connexion find : 
Thus — light when flalhing in the eye, ; 
Thus — thro* the ear when noifea ifly. 
Mind inftantancous running o'er, . . . 
Of native ideas, ner ftorc, * 
Th' according Iniages unites, — 

And blends ^Ith thofe which fenie excites* 

P 2 For 





For each external form, we find. 
Its couatbrpart has in the mind. 

Although there are in objefts certain qualities 
which ftrikc externally upon the fenfes, and put 
their indruments in motion; although the paf- 
five imprfeffion Upon the body precedes the aftion 
of the niind; although, in fine, the former rpufes 
the latter to aftlon, and awakens the forms which 
reft within j yet if the perception of objefts flows 
- not from an impreflion made upon the mind; but 
if the mind is capable, however, by its powers, of 
diftinguifliing this impreflion afting upon.tha 
furface of the body ; with how much more, reafon 
may we affirm, that beings, purely fpiritual, dif- . 
ccrn things by their own light, by an ad of their 
underftanding alone, without being under any 
neccfl^ty of having recourfe^to 4mpreflions made 
upon them by external objeds. For this reafon 
alfo ft is, that nature has varied the poweps of 
knowledge which flie has diftributed to created 
beings^ Thus, animals that have np^piotion, 
as fiflies that: arp nouriflied in their fliells and 
adhere to rocks, are endowed with fenfation only, 
and have no other knowledge 5 whilft imagina- 
tion is given to fuch brutes as ,are capable of 
motion, aYid feem naturally to' defire fome thfjDgs, 
dnc^ avoid othefs: but Reafop is the attribyt^ of 
man alone, as Intelligence is that of t(od. 
Hence it is,, that' God's knowledge exceeds that 


V-V* W*^*." -«w <A^ 




of all other beings j as it not only comprehends 
what belongs to his own nature, but whatever 
is perceived by beings inferior to him. What 
would you think, if the Senfcs and the Ima- 
gination Ihould oppofe Reafon, and endeavour 
to perfuade her that the general ideas of thingfe, 
which (he belieyes ihe csrnprehend^, are no- 
thing ? for what falls under the cognizance of 
the fenfes and imagination, cannot be general. 
Perhaps you would fay, either Reafon . judges 
true, that nothing is apprehended by fenfe j or, 
fince fhe knows many things are perceived by 
the fenfe and by the imagination^ Ihe muft 
judge falfely, when fhe confiders ?s general that 
which is fer^fible and particular. Bqt if Reafon 
Ihould anfwer to tjiis, that in her idea of what is 
general, Ihe Comprehends clearly whatever is fenfi- 
ble and imaginable; but as to the fenfes and ima- 
gination, they cannot poffibly attain to the\know^ 
ledge of what is general, fince their peroeption 
cannot reach beyond th^ material figures that 
ftrike them; and therefore, in all matters of 
fcience, the greateft credit is; due to the judg- 
ment of that guide, whofe powers are the moft 
difcerning and perfeft. In a cpntrovcrfy of this 
kind, ougjit not we, who are ppflcffed of the 
j^wers of rcafonjj imagination, and fenfe, to en- 
lift ourfelves on fhe f^deof Reafon, and to efpoulc 
her caufe. The cafe is entirely fimilar, when hu* 
^i^;|n feafon thinks the divine underftanding can- 

? 3 flo? • 


not behold future events, in any other w^y than 
. fte herfelf il capable of perceiving them : for 
ypur reafoning with regard to this matter is pre- 
cifely this 5 *^ That things certainly cannot be 
" forefecn, unlefs their events are neceflitated j 
** therefore there can be no fuch thing as pre- 
^^ fcjence ; for if there were, every thing would 
*' be fixed by an abfokite neceflity." In anfwer 
to this I would fay. If it were poflible for us^ 
who are endowed only \«rith reafon, to become 
pofTeflcd of the Divine Intelligence, we fliould 
then difcovcr, becaufc it is proper, that both 
fenfe and imagination ftiould fubmit to reafon ; fo 
it is likewifc moll fit and becoming, that human 
reafon fliould fubmit to an all-knowing Mind. 
Let us therefore ftrive to elevate ourfelves to tlie 
exalted height of th,e Supreme Intelligence ; there 
Ihall Reafon behold what flie cannot difcover in 
herfelf: ftie will there fee how things, which in 
themfclves have no certain event, are, however^ 
certainly forefeen by a clear and infallible pre- 
^ fcience; and fhe will perceive that this is no 
conjefture or vague opinion, but a fimple, fu- 
preme, and unlimited knowledge. 

Of varied creatures, mark th' unnumber'd ftore 
Wandering at will the wide creation o'er : 
Some drag along their lengths in fpeckled pride. 
And trace the duft in furrows as they glide 5 




Some foaring mount the winds with daring wing. 
And thro* the fields of air exulting fing s 
Whilft others o'er the fruitful valley rove, 
Or feck the fbadows of the founding grove. 

Tho* varied brutal forms, are endlcfs found, ' 
Their looks deje<5ted ever love the ground i 
This grov'ling pofture ftupefies the fenfe. 
And all their lo>y propenfions iflue thence. 
Imperial man alone rears high his head. 
And fpurns the fordid eajrth with (lately tread: 
Admonifh'd hence, if not by glaring toys 
Seduc*d, and funk in Senfe's baneful joys 5 
Taught by his form ereft, and lifted eye. 
Let man's afpiring thoughts ftill range on high} 
Thus— 'twixt his afpeft, and his tow'ring mind. 
We, pleas'd, a ftrid conformity ihall find. 

Since then every thing which is known is not, 
as I have before proved, perceived by its own 
inherent properties, but by virtue, of powers re- 
fiding in the perfon comprehending it; let us 
now examine, as far as it is poflible for us, the 
difpofition of the Divine Nature, that we may 
thence derive a clearer conception of the know*- 
ledge of God. 

It is the fentiment of all reafonable creatures, 
that God is eternal. Let us then confider what 
eternity is i becaufe. this will difcover to us, at 
the fame time, the nature of God, and of his 

P 4 Eternity 


Eternity then is a full and perfeft poffeffion of 
the whole of everlafting life, altogether and at ' 
once. Now this will evidently appear, by com- 
paring it with things which endure only for a 
time: for every temporal exiftence glides on 
through the paft to the prefent, and thence to 
the future; fo that there is nothing; under the . f 

laws of time, which can at once comprehend the * 

whole extent of its duration. As it has loft 
yeftcrday, it does not as yet enjoy to-morrow j 1 

and as for to-day, it is plain you have no more 
of life than the prefent tranfitory moment. 
Whatever therefore be fubjedted to the flight 
of time, as Ariftotle thought of the world, it 
' may be without beginning and without end i 

and altho* its duration may extend to an in- 
finity of time, it is not of fuch a nature as to 
be properly deemed eternal; becaufc it does- 
not comprehend at once the whole extent of 
its infinite duration, having no knowledge of 
things future, which are not yet arrived. What- 
ever comprehends and poffefles at the fame 
time, the fulnefs of an unlimited life ; which 
catches hold of the future, and from which 
nothing that is paft is efcaped; that, and 
that alone. Is truly eternal : for what is eter- 
nal muft be in nothing defective ; muft enjoy 
itfclf; and muft have the infinite fucceflion of 
time clearly and perfcdtly under its perception. 
With regard to this point, fomc Philpfophers, 



who had heard it was the fentiment of PlatOj 
that this world never had a beginning, and fhould 
never have an end *, from hence falfely concluded, 
that the created univerfe was co-ete>nal with its 
Creator. But it is one thing to be condufted 
through a life of infinite duration, which was 
^ Plato's opinion of the world ; and another thing 

to comprehend at once the whole extent of this 
duration as prefent, which is manifeft can only 
belong to the mind of the Deity. In fa6t, it is 
not fo much by the meafure of time, that God 
appears to us prior to and more ancient than his 
creatures, as by the properties of his nature, which 
arc altogether fimple and undivided : for the in- 
finite progreffion of temporal things aims at a re- 
femblance of that ever-prefent condition of an im- 
moveable life, [the property of God only], which, 
as it is not capable either of copying or equal- 
ling, from immobility it degenerates into motion 5 

• The Philofbpliers here alluded to, are Grantor, Taurus of Bery « 
tus, Plotinus, Jainblichus> and other Platonifts, who> ^in maintaining 
t^at the world is eternal, fupport their opinion upon the authority of 
Plato ; although that philofopher fays clearly, in" his Timaeus, that the 
world had a beginning; and adds afterwards, in the fame book, **iince 
the univerfe was framed by divine fymmetry, it cannot be deftroyed 
but by ( ne fame Almighty Power who formed it, and united to* 
I gethcr fo firmly all its parts." 

What might perhaps lead thefe philofophers into this miftake, is^ 
that Plato fometimes calls matter eternal ; by which he does not mean 
that matter vifibly fubfifted from all eternity, but that it fubfifted in- 
telligibly in the internal idea of God : and in this refpeA he men- 
tions the world at eternal. ' 



and, infte^d of becoming an immoveable ftate, ^4 
finiply prefent, it falls into an .infinite nxeafure of 
paft and future time. But fince it cannot poffcfs 
at once the whole, extent of its duration; yet as 
ii never ceafcs in fome meafure to exift, it ftrives 
therefore in vaiq to ^muhtc ibaf, whofc perfeftion 
ij: can neither attain or exprefs, by attaching itfelf 
to the prefence of the fleeting moment, which 
pafles away with rapidity : and becaufe this 
fleeting prefence bears a refemblance to the im- 
mpveable prefence juft now mentioned, it com- 
municates, to, the things which partake of it,» 
^n appearance of exiftence * : but as it cannot 
Hop or abide, it purfues its courfe through 
unlimited timti and hence it is, that by glid- 
ing along it continues its duration, th? extent 
and plenitude of which it could not compre- 
hend by refting in a permanent flate. If there- 
fore we vjrould give to things their true namesi 
we muft fay with Plato, that God is eternal, and 
tlje world pprpetual. Since then every being judges 
of the things that are the objefts of its under- 
ftanding, according to the faculties of judgment 
"vyl^ich it pofl[eires ; and as God is in a Hate im-- 

* ** It communicates to the things which partake of it an appearand 
^e^Jlf nee •^^'^This ought to be confidered in no other point of view 
^n at one of the high flights of the Piatonick philofophy s for many 
of the PJatonifts were of opinion, that nothing can be faid with pro* 
priety to exift, but Deity ) as he alone is felf^exiftent, and the caufc 
of exigence. 



moveable, and eternally prefent to every things 
his knowledge foacs above the progreflion of time, 
brings together the paft and the future, though, 
at infinite intervals, a;nd comprehends, in his ca- 
pacious intelleft, all things, as if they were now 

, tranfafting. If therefore you would properly de- 

^ fine this prefcicnce which gives to God the cog- 

nUknce of every thing, it muft not be confidercd 
as an anticipated knowledge of the future, but it 

i Qught morejuftly to be efteemed a knowledge 

of the never-failing now *. Hence, the word pre- « 
fcience, or foreknowledge, is not fo applicable to 
the Divine Intelligence, as the word providence, 

* or fuperintendence J for the exalted and fovereign 

Ruler looks down as it were from the fummit of 
his univerfe, and beholds every thing moving in 
obedience to his infinitely wife direftion. 

But can you imagine that God impofes a ne- 
ceffity upon events by beholding them, when 
men, by feeing things, do not make them nc- 
ceffary ? for ypu before acknowledged to me, 
that your viewing an aftion happening under" 
your eye, lays^ no necefliry upon it. If we then 
may be allowed to compare the knowledge of 
man with that of God, it is plain, that whilft you 
fee only fome things in a limited inftanr, tGod 
fees every thing prefent to him at once, in an un- 
limited eternity. His Divine forefight does not 

* In which Deity behoidt every thing at if it were immoveabljr 





therefore change the nature and properties of 
things ; but they are prefent to his view in the 
Tery order as they Ihall in time befal : nor 
does he judge confufedly of them, but diftin- 
guilhes with precifion the events which will 
neceffarily happen, from thofe which will take 
place unconftrained by neceflity. "When you fee, 
for example, a man walking on the earth, and 
the fun rifing in the (kiesj although you fee both 
of them at once, yet you plainly perceive that the 
aftion of the former is voluntary, whilft the mo- 
tion of the latter is neceffary. Thus the eye of 
Providence contemplates all things, without al- 
tering their nature and properties j for every thing ^ 
in faft is prefent to him; though, with regard to 
its temporal event, it may be ftill future. Hence 
it follows, that when God knows a thing will be, 
although at the fame time he perceives it is un- 
der no neceOity of being, we muft neverthelefs 
allow, that this knowledge is not an uncertain con- 
je£lure, but a knowledge founded upon truth. 

If you ftill infift, that what Godforefees will he^ 
fali muft befal i and that things which cannot do 
otherwife than happen^ muft necejfarily happen (if 
in this way you force me to admit a neceflity, it 
muft be acknowledged, it is unqueftionably true 
» that things are under fuch a conftraint; but 
this ig at the fame- time a truth which can fcarce 
be comprehended tjy any man, unlefs he is ac- 
quainted with the Divine counfek). But, ill ' 


, .OF PHILOSOPHY^- - . a»| 

mhfwer to the above obje6tion, that what God 
foreknows will take place, muil come to pafs; 
I would have you to confider, that every thing 
j^hich happens, as it bears a relation to the 
t)ivine knowledge, is neceffary ; but wheii con^ 
fidered in its own nature, it is altogether free arid 
unconftrained : for there are two kinds of ner 
ceflity ; the one fimple and abfolute, as, men 
muft neceffarily die ; the other conditional, as, if 
you know that a man walks, he muft certainly 
do fo: for that which is known cannot be other- 
wife than it is apprehended to be. But this 
circumftance or condition does by no means infer 
the other abfolute neceflity : for the nature of the 
thing itfelf does not here conftitute the neceflity, 
but the neceflity arifes from the conjunction of 
the condition. Thus, no neceflity compels a 
man to walk, who voluntarily fteps forward ; yet 
when he fteps forward, he muft of neqefllty walk: 
fo every thing which is prefent to the eye of 
Providence muft afluredly be, although there be 
nothing in its own nature to conftkute this- ne^ 
ceflity. Since Deity then beholds all future e- 
vents, proceeding from the freedom of the will, as 
actually prefent; thefe events by that condition- 
Ijecome neceflfary, in relation to the Divine appre^ 
henfion; although* when cdnfijdered in their own 
nature, they be at abfolute liberty. All things 
t^ierefore which God by his prefciencc knows will 
happen, fhall undoubtedly come to pafs -, but as 
many of thefe event? proceed from free- will, which, 



• • 


although they do befal, yet' their ekfilctice changes 
Dot their natuf-e, as, before they happened, they had 
it in their power rrot to happen, — ^But it is antiat^ 
"ter of no nrioment, whether things in theii* own 
nature ar^ necefl^ry or not, Cincc^ by this circuth- 
ftance of the Divine knowledge, to which they ^rc 
all fubjeft, they fall out in every refpeft as if they 
were coiiftrained by neceffity. — •This, replied flic, 
is explained, in the inftance I gave you of the fun 
Hfing, and a man walking. Now as you fee both 
of thefe occurrences happen under your view, they 
afforedly dd hapj^cft j but neverthdefs there is this 
difference, that the event of the former Was ne- 
refiary before it befel, whereas that of the latter 
vras altogether free. Thus, all things which are 
prelent to the view of the Deity uhqucftibhably 
lexift ; but fome of them proceed from a rieceflity 
elohging to their own natures, as ih the inftance 
of the rifing fun i while others flow from' the 
>^ift and ^6^h bf the agdnt, as in the othei- ex- 
arinple. It Is then with reafon we haVe aflerfed, 
iharin tefpeft of the Eiivine apprehenfibn; things 
are neceffafy^ but that theyar^ abfolutely frefefrom 
the chains df Fate, when coj^fidered in themftlves.^ 
fh the fatVie fW^y, fevery thing N^hieh is itn objeA 
l)f rcfnfer'tsr'j^rieral iri'reo;ard tcFits rehtidn with 
fcafon,4)ui' particular wheh '6orifidered hf Itftlf. 
' Blit you' nnray fay. If it bie in rtiy power tb change 
ttiy pbrfiorfe^^ T-^xin dtceive P^foVidence; fihce I 
tnaynot carrjf iiito ekecution thofe things which 

3 4 iHe 

OF PHlLOSO?Ht. i23 

the forefaw I would do. To this I atrfWer, ft 
is indeed in your power to deviate from your 
pUrpbfe J but as Providence fees really and 
ttflu^ly what you can do ; fince fhe- knows 
whether you will alter your refolutions or not, 
and uport what refolution you wiH lix ; it is 
as impoflible for you to deceive* the prefcience 
of God, as it would be to efeape the notice of 4 ^ 
preftnt and fteady obferver of j^our aftions; 
though, frorn the freedom of ybur wHl, you haVfc 
•it in your power to vary ahd diverfify thferh tvet 
io muth. Wh^t !— Ihall the Di^^IneknoWiedgfe, will 
yxm farther fty, be changed according to my drf- 
fODfitionsi and when my deflres.Var^ Sfld 9uftuat8, 
fixing now upon ihis thing* now upon thdt, ^iH 
the apprehenfibrt df the Deity vary with thferfl ? 
No, certainly, it will not. For the view ofDeitf, 
if i may fpeak, out-ruHs every future invent, Mfl 
brings it back into the prefence bf his own ap^ 
preherifioh j which does hot vary, is fBu iftfagiHfcv 
to conform itfelf ta your caprices, byit4*emai& 
immoveable, ^nd aiiticipateil a'cEd cbtWpfefiKfiai 
at Opce all your variety of • ehdh^s'i ^wBHffc 
fknofity of cdmpreihtriding and feemg aH tHirfgS iS 
pffeferiti God ^OthfWt derive frorti tfec iffiife SF 
ttturfe eveiits^ btit from the flm^licity df his oWA 
hatub/- Here then is afolutiotfofwhdt ymi xAii 
Jested to n)€ • ibrmc'Hy ♦,- that if Is a f>ry f)oftcfbift 
ihang to fty,^ that our temporal iVents are tfii 

* See p. 197. — If it is admitted, that things in ^ture 9re foref^ 
by God, becaufe they are to happen $ (hi^ makes prefcience depend 
vpon the iiFue of our tenpoml ettfits. > ' ; 

, caufei 


caufes of the Diviqe prefcicnce : for the quality 
of the Sovereign Mind is fuch, that every thing is^ 
iubordinate to the eternal prefence of his know- 
ledges tfjat he plans and direfts all events, with- 
out being in the leafl: dependent v^pon futurity. 

Upon the whole then it niuft be concluded, 
.the freedom of the human* will remains uncon- 
ftrained and inviolable j and that thofe laws can- 
not be confidered as unjuft, which affign rewards 
and puniftiments to men, whofe aftions arc 
in no refpeft under the compulfion of neceffity. 
Wc ought therefore to comfort ourfclves with 
this reflection, that God, who fits on high, per* 
ccives every thing, knows perfeftly what is to 
liappen; and that the eternal prefence of his 
knowledge, concurring with the future quality of 
Qur aftion^ engages him always to dilpenfe re- 
ivards to the good, and punilhments to the wick- 
ed^ The confidence which, for this reaibn, we rc- 
pofe in God, cannot be vain or fruitlefs > neither 
will the -prayers we addrefs to him be ineftca-? 
cdous, when tljcy proceed from % heaft which is 
pure and upright, ' Dcteft, then, and flee every 
vice;, cultivate and purfue cv^ry virtue; exalt 
ypur mind to God, the only tifUe hopes and oflfer 
jup yojur prayrn with huniiljjy to his thrope. If 
ycixi arc .ingenujo^, yoxinnQuft confe^^th^t^^ftriiS 
'pbligation thgtyqu are under, to live agreeably 
toth^rules of wildom andjprobity, as you kno^ 
that all your aftions are performed under the eye 
tif an all-difccrnirig Judge. . 

[ F 1; N 'f^-S. J^^<^^ ' ' '